By Peter Okebukola
The tenures of Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed as executive secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) and that of Professor Is-haq Oloyede as registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), have been marked by unprecedent successes.
While Rasheed was recently ranked by a global assessment agency as the best executive secretary in the history of the NUC, Oloyede is equally globally acclaimed as the most dynamic, innovative and prudent registrar JAMB has ever had. The activities of the duo, Rasheed and Oloyede, have, in the last five years, elevated the quality of university education in Nigeria.
While Oloyede ensures improved quality of candidates into the system, Rasheed ensures that, when admitted, the candidates benefit from high-quality processing leading to much-improved quality of graduates, compared to what used to obtain before he came into office.
With about 106 innovations at NUC and 82 innovations in JAMB, Rasheed and Oloyede, respectively, are poised to consolidate the gains of the last five years and see to the completion of their ongoing programmes and projects.
For instance, the Rasheed revolution, driven by the Blueprint for the Rapid Revitalisation of University Education in Nigeria (2019 to 2025) is about to take off effectively after its pause by COVID-19.
On the strength of Professor Rasheed’s international recognition to lead the implementation of the Blueprint, several donor agencies and development partners have offered support for the implementation of the blueprint. The massive overhaul of the curriculum of the Nigerian university system, now in its crucial stage, is being led by Rasheed.
Other programmes and projects that are dependent on the international clout and expertise of Rasheed to lead include the Nigerian University System Knowledge Bank, the Virtual Institute for Capacity Building in Higher Education (VICBHE) and the Digest of Statistics (the most current in the history of education in Nigeria).
Oloyede needs to personally move the ongoing innovations in JAMB to higher gear in order not to lose the gains of the past five years. Some of these innovations are Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) for automation of admission process; establishment of Equal Opportunity Group to conduct UTME for blind candidates; expansion of CBT centres’ capacity for standardisation; E-Ticketing (for complaints support.jamb.gov.ng) and Integrated Brochure and Syllabus System (IBASS) for prompt delivery of admissions requirements.
Others include use of biometric authentication to confirm validity of registration, printing of e-slip and candidates’ identity; introduction of management dashboard to monitor registration and admission exercise real time; use of CCTV cameras in all centres to monitor the examination and registration process real time; and exemplary funds management: prudent and judicious use of financial resources of JAMB.
President Muhammadu Buhari just returned from the Global Education Summit in London, United Kingdom, with a promise to rejig the education sector under the leadership of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, in terms of funding and efficiency. The minister needs these two pillars, Rasheed and Oloyede, for the promise of Mr. President to hold true for the Nigerian university system.
• Prof. Okebukola, OFR, former executive secretary, National Universities Commission, writes from Abuja, FCT