MUST READ: Why admission crisis may rock Nigerian University 2016

Prospective admission seekers into Nigerian universities are at a loss over the procedure for gaining admission into the universities fo...

Prospective admission seekers into Nigerian universities are at a loss over
the procedure for gaining admission into the universities following the abolition of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). Many students had prepared for the UTME prior to the hard stance of the Education Minister, Mallam Adamau Adamu, who insisted that the universities screening exams should be abolished and remained banned. Banning Post UTME in Universities In a combined policy meeting on admissions to universities, polytechnics and other higher institutions in Nigeria, Adamu said since the federal government and the Nigerian public have confidence in the examinations conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, there was no need for other examinations to be conducted by universities after the JAMB exams. According to him, “As far as I am concerned, the nation has confidence in what JAMB is doing, the universities should not be holding another examination and if the universities have any complaints against JAMB, let them bring it and then we address it. But if JAMB is qualified enough to conduct tests and they have conducted test, then there will be no need to conduct another test for students to gain admission.

“The ministry expects that all candidates given admission must be from JAMB. But JAMB must stop issuing admission letters. JAMB should get in touch with the institutions before offering admission to students. The closing date is November 30th and no university should exceed its admission capacity and any tertiary institution that doesn’t follow the rule, the ministry would start sanctioning them.” While the statement by the education minister may be seen as informal, the ministry as a follow up, made a press release banning all higher institutions from conducting any further examination besides the exam conducted by JAMB for the purposes of admission, warning that any institution found culpable would face necessary sanctions. The statement was issued on behalf of the minister by the ministry’s deputy director of press and public relations, Mr. Ben Goong. The ban, in the release, was with immediate effect and directed all institutions to comply without raising eye brows.

“The ban is with immediate effect, and under no circumstance should any institution violate the directive. The responsibility for admission into public tertiary institutions lies solely with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and under no circumstance whatsoever, should anybody or institution take over that responsibility by proxy. “For the avoidance of doubt, any educational institution after secondary education is regarded as a tertiary institution. Therefore, all tertiary institutions, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, Universities or by whatever name it is called after secondary education, must be subjected to admission through the JAMB,’’ the official statement finally read.

By this directive, all higher institutions are only expected to screen the certificates of the prospective students and ascertain qualifications for admission into the higher institutions. The ministry further warned that the screening should be done at no financial cost to the parents and should be done upon resumption to avoid unnecessary travels which could be hazardous. Adamu was quoted as saying that since the inception of the post UTME, the universities have not been able to prove that they have gotten better students than the ones deemed fit by JAMB. He explained that students admitted through post UTME are still being expelled on a yearly basis for poor academic performance, hence the universities have failed to convince the ministry on why it should not ban the screening examination into the higher institutions. He said any institution which had advertised for the conduct of post UTME should drop the idea and anyone that had conducted the examination should consider it annulled and refund money collected from students with immediate effect. Initial rejection of post UTME A former Vice-Chancellor of Ebonyi State University (EBSU), Professor Fidelis Ogah, was quoted as saying that he had refused to bow to pressure to conduct Post-UTME tests because most institutions have turned it to a goldmine where they rake in money from prospective students. Ogah alleged that most Nigerian universities that conduct Post-UTME do so primarily to wring money from rich parents, whose children could not be admitted using JAMB results. Ogah stated that he ignored pressure to conduct the test, pointing out that if he lacked confidence in the credibility of JAMB, he would lack confidence in a post-UME examination as well.

Similarly, during the 33rd and 34th convocation ceremony of the University of Benin, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, through the then Director of Tertiary Education in the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr. Emmanuel Okon, remarked that the post UTME might be cancelled if complaints against its conduct by students, parents, and guardians persisted. Besides the university VC and the late president, the former JAMB Registrar, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, also lamented that universities have turned the screening test into a money-making venture. The House of Representatives Committee on Education in their oversight function, visited most of the institutions and discovered that universities had turned the screening of students seeking admission into a business centre. While the accusations leveled against the universities cannot be thrown into the trash can, the admission process may have challenges which may be counter-productive to the expectation of Adamu, the education minister. Certainly, complications are bound to rise as students begin seeking admissions into the universities following the fact that the admission is now open to all who beat the cut off mark without going through the rigour of writing another test. History, establishment and success story of JAMB However, prior to the establishment of JAMB in 1978 through a decree promulgated by the then military head of state, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, universities were conducting independent examinations for admission of prospective students. The system then had serious limitations and was inefficient. The committee of Vice-Chancellors was concerned about the problem. Consequently, the government set up a National Committee on University Entrance Examination under the Chairmanship of Mr. M. S. Angulu and that committee recommended setting up JAMB. And from 1979 when the decree took effect, it transferred the responsibility to conduct admission examinations into JAMB. From then till 2005/2006, when the universities started the post JAMB examinations, the board has been responsible for admission examinations into the universities and the results from JAMB had been accepted by all stakeholders.

Over the years, JAMB has been effectively conducting the examination without hitches. For over 26 years beginning from 1979 when the board was established, JAMB had conducted the admission examinations without hitches, until the universities felt the board had failed in the conduct of the examinations and decided to establish a new method of conducting screening examination for prospective students, a development which came into effect during the 2005/2006 academic year. Introduction of post UTME into Universities The introduction of the post UTME by the universities angered many parents while some described it as a way of checking the failure of JAMB in its responsibility to the universities. However, some stakeholders were of the view that the new admission policy of the universities was a ploy to make money from prospective students. While the university management, led by the University of Lagos, defended their action, stakeholders and parents fought against the move but the university authorities seemed stronger than members of the public and so the decision became a norm. And this has been till the new minister made the pronouncement and banned the practice on June 2, 2016. As it is now, no university authority has power to conduct any examination for prospective students. The challenge and dilemma of 2016 university admission seekers According to the former JAMB Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, a total of 1,589,175 candidates applied for the 2016 JAMB examination while the cut off mark for admission was pegged at 180, although some universities, especially federal universities, increased theirs to 200. But the issue currently on ground is the criteria for the selection of students for admission.

Although merit, catchment area and educationally disadvantaged have been seen set as criteria for the selection, it may never work in a Nigerian setting. While could not verify how many students scored above the 180 cut off mark, there is the possibility that there will serious scheming to gain admission into the universities, the end product may be admission of students with influential parents. This is so because the admission system is open to all as many as passed the cut off mark to gain admission undermining the level of intelligence. Also, based on the quota given to the universities, the admission has ultimately become competitive and the most connected and highly placed will be the successful ones to secure the admission. While Nigerians watch the proceedings at the universities, one is yet to know whether the decision of Adamu will stand or it may be reversed to the former stance of the university authorities.



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INSIDEFUTO BLOG: MUST READ: Why admission crisis may rock Nigerian University 2016
MUST READ: Why admission crisis may rock Nigerian University 2016
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