The Senate Committee on Education has warned against an imminent policy somersault should the federal government make good its plan to scrap the National Examinations Council (NECO) as well as the Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examination (UTME).
The Senator Uche Chukwumerije senate Committee on Education predicted what it tagged a “new swirl of reversals in the next five years” if the federal government effects the contentious scrapping.
According to the Committee Chairman in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP, on resumption from the Easter and non-plenary session recess, the Senate Committee on Education will meet to formally examine the full implications of the Government intention.
Chukwumerije also emphasised that although the federal government decision to shrink Nigeria’s bloated Public Service bureaucracy was most commendable, “the surgeon must be careful with his scalpel lest vital organs are cut off with the unwelcome growths.”
Chukwumerije insisted that the basic problems limiting the education sector were unrelated to the current intention of the federal government to scrap NECO and UTME. He called on government to open the subject up to full discussion in order that the best interest of Nigeria and its student population was primarily served.
On NECO, the committee noted, “In scrapping NECO, the indication is that its functions will revert to WAEC. A very serious concern is whether WAEC, as constituted, has the capacity to exclusively conduct its current schedule of examinations and, in addition, all the examinations currently conducted by NECO.
On UTME, the statement equally noted, “Scrapping of the examination (UTME) emasculates JAMB of one of its primary responsibilities to set and conduct harmonised examinations for admission of students into Nigerian tertiary institutions.
“Scrapping UTME will encourage students to attempt entry into several institutions. This could mean even more expenses for multiple entrance examinations, unnecessary risks of travel for examinations, lack of uniformity of entrance examination standards and possible multiple admissions.
The Orosanye-led committee had in its recommendation, which it presented to the president in April last year, asked Jonathan to scrap 38 agencies, merge 52 and the revert 14 others to departments in the ministries from which they were created.