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FG makes U-turn, reintroduces post-UTME screening

• Says cancellation was a mistake, regrettable
• Varsities to charge N2,000 per candidate
• JAMB slashes varsity cut-off point to 120
• Stakeholders hail reintroduction of exercise

The Federal Government on Tuesday made a U-Turn and ordered the reintroduction of the post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (Post-UTME) screening exercise that was cancelled in the 2015/2016 admission exercise.

The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who gave the directive, regretted the earlier decision to cancel the post-UTME screening exercise as a great mistake, saying that the reversal by government was because of the economic challenges that engulfed the nation and the reality on ground.

The minister, who gave the above directive during the policy meeting for the 2017/2018 admission exercise with Vice Chancellors, Rectors, Provosts, and Registrars of tertiary institutions at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja, also directed varsities to ensure that the post-UME exercise must be by aptitude test and that students be charged N2,000 as fees.

He said: ’The decision to scrap the post-UTME screening exercise last year was a mistake that must not be repeated as students must be properly screened before securing final admission’’.

The Daily Times recalls that the Minister had last year declared post-UTME screening exercise as null and void; threatening that any institution caught still conducting the examination under any guise would be sanctioned.

A strongly-worded statement from the Ministry of Education had at that time cancelled the exercise with ‘’immediate effect and no institution should conduct such examinations’’, adding that it was unnecessary to subject students to further examinations when they have been offered examinations by JAMB since they will still have to go through between eight or 12-semester examinations throughout their four to six years study in the institutions.

Reacting to the reinstating of Post-UTME, Dr. Adekunle Idris, immediate past Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos, hailed the decision, adding that he was 100 percent in support of the test because “it is the individual university that should determine the suitability of candidates for admission”.

He also said that: “The reintroduction of Post-UTME screening is good for the universities to determine the right candidates for admission. However, it is necessary for the Federal Government to regulate the amount to be charged by universities per candidate so that the right candidates are not shut out and denied access to university education”.

Also speaking, Dr. Kehinde Kemabonta of the Department of Zoology, University of Lagos, described the return of Post-UTME screening exercise as “the best thing because we don’t know how most of the students got As in their WAEC.

“The same students would come and do Post-UTME screening and score below 40 percent which is the cut-off for UNILAG. There is an anomaly somewhere. It is ridiculous and embarrassing. Government needs to check out what is wrong otherwise we may eventually have the wrong people in the system and the right people shut out of the university system. The genuine people must not be denied access in the system. It is wrong for the Federal Government in the first place to have scrapped the Post-UTME screening exercise,” he added.

He cited the example of a student who had all As in her WAEC but when the admission list of UNILAG came out her name was not there and she came complaining to him.

Dr. Kemabonta said upon checking her Post-UTME score, she scored below the cut-off point of the university.
Meanwhile, in a surprise move, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has slashed the cut-off point for university admissions from 180 to 120, saying the move is to liberalise the admission process like what is obtainable in Ghana and other countries.

JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday during the policy meeting for the 2017/2018 admission exercise with vice chancellors, Rectors, Provosts, and Registrars of tertiary institutions at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja.

He also spoke extensively on the new developmental methods being put in place against the 2017/2018 JAMB, saying that the agency has introduced the central admissions processing system (CAPS) to ensure quality control, transparency and credibility of admission process.

He said: “The new policy is expected to make provision for a market place for JAMB portal where institutions can go and request for students in Nigeria who score their cut off points.

“With the new system, no candidate can upload a fake o level result as before now, “he added.

The JAMB boss also said that only three universities can request for a candidates once the system is adopted while also saying that there will be no automatic admission for those without the necessary requirements, hence JAMB will contact the institutions to know why they are not admitted yet.

Other decisions reached at the policy meeting include the reduction of cut off points for Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Mono-technics to 100,100, and 110 respectively

It was also resolved that admissions into Nigerian universities for 2017 academic session should be concluded by October this year.

Reacting, the former Vice Chancellor of Rivers State owned Ignatius Ajuru University, Prof Rosemund Dienye, has rejected the slashing of varsity cut off to 120 by JAMB, saying the development will reduce competition and the quality of the admission exercise.

Rosemund, who spoke to The Daily Times on telephone, also maintained that Nigeria is not yet ripe for liberalised admission exercise, since she does not have the needed infrastructure to absorb the expected upsurge in the number of applicants.

Augustine Okezie, Abuja and Esther Taiwo, Lagos

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