UNESCO Honors JAMB Chief Professor Oloyede

Professor Is-haq Olarewaju Oloyede, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has emerged as Africa’s best advocate of equal opportunity in higher education in Africa.

At a recent meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, where African countries were evaluated in terms of options for individuals with disabilities to pursue higher education in Nigeria, JAMB Boss was rated highly above others in Africa.

Chairman of the JAMB Equal Opportunity Group (JEOG), Prof Emeritus Peter Okebukola, made this known in a statement he made available to newsmen in Abuja.

Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) who recently returned from UNESCO headquarters in Paris, expressed delight at the grade, which was based on JEOG’s presentation.

Through the administration of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, the Group established by Prof. Oloyede in 2017 was able to process over 2000 candidates with disabilities, including the blind, albinos with vision issues, and candidates with autism and Down syndrome (UTME).

The Group consists of 43 senior academics, including former Executive Secretaries of Federal Ministry of Education parastatals, former Vice-Chancellors, a former Minister, and experts in special education, as well as other relevant stakeholders such as the President of the Nigeria Association of the Blind, National President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities, President, The Albino Foundation, and President, Nigeria National Association of Deaf. The Anglo-Nigeria Welfare Association for the Blind is involved in the project.

According to a statement issued by Okebukola outlining the plans for the 2022 UTME, 383 candidates in 11 centres spread all over Nigeria will be taking the 2022 UTME on May 12 and 13.

He explained that this was done to bring the examination venue closer to the candidates, especially given the country’s security condition. Candidates will take a total of 20 subjects in total.

The blind candidates and others served by the group take the same test items as those who are not blind, according to Okebukola, who also explained that the mode of examination administration is blended, with PCs and traditional Braille slates and stylus/typewriters used in writing answers to questions that are read out by a subject expert.

He went on to say that this was in alignment with the current state of development of Nigeria’s higher education system with regard to education of the blind.

Okebukola said, “JEOG is already implementing a strategic plan of gradually increasing the ICT component of administration of the UTME to match improvement in ICT usage for the education of the blind in the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.

“JAMB takes full responsibility for hotel accommodation and feeding of the candidates in the 11 centres and pays generous transport supplementation while providing them with a conducive environment to write the examination.

“Additionally, each blind candidate received the very precious tools of slate and stylus from JAMB that will be used during the course of study, when admitted in a tertiary institution,” Okebukola said. .

According to JAMB figures, a total of 175 (44.8 percent) of the 390 candidates were admitted in 2019, which he described as unprecedented in the history of such a category of students being admitted into the Nigerian higher education system.

“In 2020, 89 of the 351 blind candidates (25%) that sat for the UTME, were given admission. In 2021, a total of 110 blind candidates were given admission, out of the 332 that sat for the UTME. This 33% admission of blind candidates to higher education in an annual cohort is unprecedented in the African higher education system,” he said.

Prof. Oloyede was reappointed as the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Registrar for another five-year term last year. From October 2007 to October 2012, he served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin and Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC).

The Abeokuta born Professor of Islamics, academic, and public servant was the president of the Association of African Universities (AAU) until January 2011. Professor Is-haq Oloyede, the current Registrar of JAMB, was named ‘Public Servant of the Year’ by the New Telegraph Awards in 2017.


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