The National Universities Commission (NUC) on Thursday supported the Federal Government’s streamlining of the National Examination Council (NECO) and the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

The NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie, expressed the commission’s support in an interviewwith the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

The Federal Government had resolved to scrap some of its agencies in line with the recommendations of the Stephen Oronsaye-led Presidential Committee on Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal GovernmentParastatals, Commissions and Agencies.

Okojie said that the decision by the Federal Government was not to merge NECO with WAEC “but to restructure it.”

“You can use the facilities in NECO to do the same exams, under the same administrative setting.

“NECO is an alternative exam to WestAfrica Examination Council (WAEC) orSSCE and we think that it is possible to manage those two exams under the same umbrella.

“This does not necessarily mean that we are going to dismiss all the staff of NECO, no, but WAEC must be sustained for logistic reasons.

“A student has the option of writing exams many times a year, just like you also write GCE London, so NECO exams is supposed to be equivalent to WAEC,” the NUC boss said.

He said that WAEC was a sub-regional exam for West Africa, adding that countries in the region would not accept NECO results.

For WAEC or SSCE, let’s see if we can do it four times a year, using the same facilities and I think government means well.’’

Okojie, however, said that the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) was an exam for all tertiary education.

“UTME exam is very important in the sense that if we leave each university or collages of education todecide what exams to administer to students, there will be various grades.

“Already, it is a public exam but I will imagine that all students should write the UTME and the results be sent to universities where the students chose, then the universities will do the admission.

“Also, even if JAMB and NECO will be streamlined, UTME is also very important to the extent that the universities should be allowed to have their own post UTME.

“This is because the issue of merit and catchment areas must also be properly defined.

“We are not quite clear about the criteria for determining the catchment areas for any institutions because it was so arbitrary at some stage,” he said.

He said that some federal universities have a whole nation as their catchment areas, while others have only a few.

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