Why cancelling POST UTME?

To screen candidates who had passed the JAMB exam before admitting them. This became necessary as many believed that just using JAMB results will not throw up the best candidates due to exam malpractices. In this report, Vanguard Learning sought the views of stakeholders on the way forward. Below are their responses. By Ebele Orakpo RIGHT policy, wrong timing: In the view of the Vice-Chancellor of Fountain University, Oshogbo, Osun State, Professor Bashir Raji, although JAMB exam has improved and exam malpractices drastically reduced, there is need to still give them a little time before scrapping post-UTME. JAMB-CBT-Centre “I know that JAMB of recent, has actually improved on the conduct of its exams. With the introduction of computer-based exams, exam malpractice has reduced drastically. But the question one needs to ask is; have we reached the point where we can boldly cancel post-UTME? The minister may be going in the right direction but this may not be the right time. We could give it another two, three years and see how JAMB handles it.” Teething problems “There are still some teething problems even with the computer-based exams but once JAMB gets that right, there won’t be any need for people to conduct another exam. But I know most universities will do screening, especially private universities. Private universities check the background of candidates to see whether they have anything in their background  that can lead them into cultism. A lot of them who come into private universities left other universities for one reason or the other so you need to screen them so that they don’t infiltrate into private universities,” said Raji. Riots “Recently, we had student riots in some private universities which was not there before. So screening might still be necessary but may not need to be a written exam. Prof. Dibu Ojerinde of JAMB is doing a good job but have we reached a point where JAMB itself can say yes, we are 100 per cent ready? So it is the right direction to go but may be in the next two, three years, yes. Most universities will still conduct screening, it might not be written but they will conduct screening,” said Raji. Revert to oral interview Mr. Ajibola Olatoye, a polymer engineer and Managing Director of Ibadan-based AugustMoon Plastics Limited called on universities to go back to oral interviews, saying the fees charged for post-UTME is too high. “Post-UTME has turned to a lucrative business for some universities (not all) charging between N2,500 and N10,000 as exam fee and between N10,000 and N60,000 as admission fee per candidate; how many Nigerian parents are comfortable enough to bear this cost? Some universities still conduct free oral interview for intending students after JAMB, just as in 1963 when I applied for admission to University of Ibadan. I think all the universities should accept government’s proposal in the overall interest of this nation and revert back to oral interview after JAMB examination.” In his reaction,Chairman, University/Industry Research Committee of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Professor Frank Ogbo said the Committee of Vice-Chancellors is still discussing the matter. Merit in post-UTME “My Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joe Ahaneku said there are still matters arising so I don’t think they have taken a decision. But in my view, I think there is merit in the second exam. I appreciate there is inconvenience for both candidates and parents in arranging to do the exam particularly because it is done in the universities. But there is merit because even in science, when we perform an experiment, we do what we call repetition. If you do an experiment three times, you are surer of the result than if you do it once. So the post-UTME is a kind of repetition. You are surer about the quality of a candidate who is able to do well in JAMB and in the post-UTME.” Decentralise “So I think it should be continued but universities can make arrangements to decentralise the exam so that candidates and their parents would travel shorter distances and have more convenience, writing the exam around them. I don’t think it will be wise to completely eliminate it. We know how things work in Nigeria. That is my own personal view,” said Ogbo. Window for screening Speaking on the issue, Professor Isaac Adeyemi, Vice-Chancellor of Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State said the Secretary-General of Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) will prepare a position paper on behalf of Nigerian universities. He believes there is still a window for screening. “There won’t be exam but there will be screening/interaction with the candidates. This will depend on each university. “Some universities also use the school certificate results, plus JAMB score and post-UTME score when we had it. They compute everything together in getting their candidates so they did not rely on JAMB or post-UTME score alone. They factor in the candidate’s school cert result. So it will depend on each institution on what and what to do. So we await the position of the AVCNU on the matter,” Adeyemi said. Decision shocking For Prof. Titilayo Kuku of the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, “I think the universities  are still in shock as to what is happening. I think the ministry or people who attended the meeting with the minister ought to have told him the genesis of the post-UTME, that mostly, people who used to score very high in JAMB will come to the university and fail while those who are able to score 200, 220 and all that, will be the ones having first class.” Buying of marks “A research was conducted here in Ife and it was revealed that people were buying marks from JAMB. “People will come to us that time and we will say ok, the cut-off mark for medicine is 280 whereas the candidate has 275. He goes and within a week, he returns with a score of 290. So this was happening and I don’t think it has stopped. We were able to curtail that with the post-UTME even though we are not getting the very top students, but one way or the other, the issues of buying marks and some students just sitting at home and getting people to write the exam for them, have reduced. “We can, with confidence say that we get the best candidates through the post-UTME. Now that we are going to be using JAMB result alone, it’s like  going back to what it used to be. Universities will find other ways which may not be the type that will get them extra income like the minister was trying to say. They will have to scrutinize the school certificate alongside the JAMB result towards ensuring that they have quality candidates,” said Kuku.   

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