Editorial

Scrapping of POST UTME




Founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola
University, Ado EKITI (ABUAD) Aare Afe Babalola
has condemned the Federal Government’s
decision to scrap the Post-Universities Tertiary
Matriculation Examination (UTME) test.
Speaking on the issue at the weekend, the legal
luminary said he was shocked by the action,
which he described as a “calamitous mistake,
which poses danger and irreversible adverse
effect on quality of education in Nigeria”.
Babalola said he was taken aback that “such a
far-reaching decision could be taken without
due and adequate consideration for how the
concept of the Post-UTME came into being”.
The former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the
Council of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) said
the concept of the Post-UTME test came into
being in 2003 when it was discovered that
“many of the students admitted into Nigerian
universities through JAMB were not only
academically deficient, but couldn’t justify the
high marks they scored at JAMB examinations”.
He spoke of cases where JAMB examination
papers were being openly sold to students at
examination centres while some examination
centres dubbed miracle centres were openly but
unofficially designed to guarantee high marks
for some candidates.
According to him, the most pathetic aspect of
the saga was that it was later discovered that
most of these students with such high marks

were unable to cope academically upon their
being admitted to the universities.
Babalola said: “It was at this point of this
national embarrassment that the Committee of
Pro Chancellors of Nigerian Universities under
my chairmanship, met in Abuja, x-rayed the
cankerworm and recommended to former
President Olusegun Obasanjo that JAMB should
be scrapped because the integrity of its
examinations has been called to question.
“I must stress at this point that the introduction
of Post-UTME was not decided by the
Committee of Pro Chancellors of Nigerian
Universities alone. The matter was thrown open
with contributions from stakeholders and
interested and concerned members of the
different strata of the society.
“However, government in its wisdom, decided to
adopt a middle way approach to the matter by
saying that JAMB should continue to be and
conduct its business of qualifying examinations
to tertiary institutions in Nigeria while Post-
UTME should be introduced.
“This translates to the fact that JAMB will be
used as the basis for admission into Nigerian
universities, but the universities are free to
conduct screening exercises, which include
administering questions in relevant courses, for
their would-be students.
“The Post-UTME had proved to be a veritable
quality control measure, which I believed had
been working and working well. For example,
the first Post-UTME we conducted at the


University of Lagos, where I was then the pro
chancellor and chairman of council, yielded
positive dividends.
“There was this student, with a very impressive
result, who applied to study Law. Since English
Literature was and still central to the admission
of students to study Law, he was asked if he
knew a novel called “Things Fall Apart” and he
answered in the affirmative. We then asked him
if he knew the author. The hall was filled with
consternation when the young man named the
late General Sani Abacha as the author of
Things Fall Apart.
“With the above scenario, it became crystal
clear that Nigerian universities are no places
candidates should come to with compromised
and procured results.”
He added: “This singular example underscores
the place and import of the Post-UTME, which is
being touted as haven been cancelled! As a
result of the introduction of the Post-UTME, the
quantum of students who were asked to
withdraw because they could neither defend the
high marks they are parading nor cope
academically upon admission, dropped
considerably.
“Besides and in any event, those who were
using JAMB to get jumbo marks also reduced
while JAMB and its results became more
credible. With the innovative measures
introduced by Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, JAMB’s
helmsman, to re-invent the examination body,
its results have become a lot more credible.
“It must be emphasised that every university
has the right to screen the candidates it wants
to admit. It also has the right to embark on
other exercises, whether written or unwritten, to
make it and its products stand out.
“For example, in the University of Oxford, any
student applying to study Law, is mandatorily
required to take the Law National Aptitude Test
(LNAT), any student applying for Biomedical
Sciences must take Biomedical Admissions Test
(BMAT), any student applying for Chemistry
must take Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)
while any one applying for Classics must take
Classics Admission Test (CAT).
“However, such universities should not set out
to profit from such exercises as they are not
money making ventures. Students should only
be made to pay minimal fees to cover the cost
of papers and other logistics like we do in our
university, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti,
where each student pays only N10,000 for the
Post-UTME.”



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