Post-UTME Cancellation Updates – Versities Still Insist On Conducting Screening Exams

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NGstudents

These and many more were worries
disturbing the peace of
the young man, who wants to study Law at
the Nnamdi
Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
Already, he scored
268 in the UTME held earlier in the year.
This same dilemma confronts many of the
candidates
looking forward to securing admission to
higher institutions
in the country this year.
Apart from this, some universities have
already conducted
this year’s post-UTME, just as many have
advertised and
collected examination fees from admission
seekers.
Indeed to clear this impasse, our
correspondent gathered
exclusively that the Minister of Education, Mr.
Adamu
Adamu, would speak on Tuesday (today) on
the issue.
A Deputy Director (Press) in the Federal
Ministry of
Education, Mr. Bem Goong, confirmed this to
our
correspondent on Monday.
“Well, if you want further clarification on the
issue, wait for
Tuesday. The minister will speak on it”,
Goong told our
correspondent.
The minister had while declaring open a
Combined Policy
Meeting on admission to universities,
polytechnics and other
higher institutions, on Thursday in Abuja, said
it was
unnecessary subjecting candidates to another
round of
examination after the UTME conducted by
JAMB.
But while many stakeholders like the former
Pro-Chancellor
of the University of Lagos, Chief Afe Baba a
(SAN), have
criticised the move to stop the post-UTME,
the immediate
past Executive Secretary of the National
Universities
Commission, Prof. Peter Okebukola, says
there is need to
handle the issue with caution.
According to Okebukola, the post-UTME as
practised in many
of the universities nowadays is far from what
stakeholders
agreed on in 2004.
He notes, “It was a tough battle which we
fought under the
leadership of Mrs. Chinwe Obaji as Minister
of Education.
We got the blessing of former President
Olusegun Obasanjo
and the National Assembly to do the
following: (a) maximum
charge to candidates for the exercise should
be N1,000; and
(b) candidates should be screened not with
the kind of test
used by JAMB but through other
mechanisms. The screening
was agreed with all vice-chancellors to be
through oral
interview and essay, which JAMB’s
assessment does not
cover.
“More than ever before, we need to admit
into our
universities, secondary school leavers, from
the large pool,
who have at least two characteristics. (A)
They must have the
minimum cognitive competence in the
relevant subjects in
the discipline they wish to study; and (b)
competence in
written and oral English, critical thinking and
ability to
present ideas in logical sequence befitting of
undergraduates in Africa’s most-expansive
and well-
regarded university system. JAMB’s UTME
targets only the
first characteristic; while the university-level
screening
should measure the second.”
Contributing, the VC, Redeemer’s University,
Ede, Osun
State, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, calls for a more
appropriate
concept of “screening” to select the best
candidates for
university education.
He states, “In the first place, we need to
recollect the
circumstances that necessitated the post-
UTME examination
by universities. The examinations conducted
by JAMB were
not credible and every sincere citizen of this
country would
readily attest to this. The ‘fantastic’ scores
obtained through
JAMB were neither correlating with the
results of post-UTME
conducted in universities nor with their poor
performances
after admission. In fact, we found that the
most credible and
reliable range of scores were those within
200 – 240 marks.
“Although the credibility of JAMB scores has
improved
recently with the computer-based
examinations, it is too
soon to conclude that the credibility issue
has been put to
rest.
“It is also important to realise that each
university is
autonomous and could decide on the
parameters for
admission, including the need for interviews. I
would
subscribe, therefore, to the more appropriate
concept of
“screening” to select the best candidates
even if post-UTME
is scrapped.”
Meanwhile, a lecturer in the Department of
Psychology,
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun
State, Prof. Toba
Elegbeleye, says the scrapping of post-UTME
and adopting
180 as the cut-off mark would only make a
bad case worse.
The JAMB Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, last
Thursday also
pegged the qualifying cut-off mark for
candidates at 180
points.
But Elegbeleye says, “There is a reason we
got to this path
and that reason was that the admission
conducted by JAMB
was a little bit untidy and we discovered that
it lacked every
element of validity because a student that
scored 380 could
get to the university and not be able to pass
a single course.
“That was when universities decided that
they should be
granted little autonomy to determine the kind
of candidates
they want to admit. So, somebody should
give a very robust
and sound reason why the mark should be
cut down to 180.”
He avers that it is wrong to force all higher
institutions to
operate at the same level in terms of what
determines their
admission criteria.

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