Post UTME exams and admission challenges
Sir: The Nigerian House of Representatives during its plenary on Wednesday, November 16, 2019 resolved to stop all Nigerian higher institutions from conducting Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) as a criteria for securing admission into them. In a motion sponsored by Hon. Ademori Kuye (APC, Lagos), sought the endorsement of the house to compel the institutions of higher learning in the country to stop the conduct of the Post UTME/JAMB exams, whose mandate according to him, was to develop acceptable standards for the examinations in conformity with the requirement of academic institutions in Nigeria.
However, to my utmost surprise, the lawmaker does not provide an alternative means for the tertiary institutions in which they will adopt in admitting student. It is obvious that Nigerian tertiary institutions cannot admit all the student that score aggregate points and are eligible to be admitted. According to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and JAMB, out of over 1.5 million students that sit for JAMB exam seeking for admission every year, not more than 500,000 applicants gain admission annually between 2010 – 2015. Even though the situation is a bit better in recent time by the introduction of some federal universities during the Goodluck administration, up till today it still stands that only two out of every five students that apply can be admitted into the universities based on the current carrying capacity.
This is to say that if the Nigerian tertiary institutions have the capacity to admit the entire students who apply to various courses, there would have been no need of conducting any examination thereby reducing the number of applicants. Although the House of Representatives has succeeded in scrapping the Post UTME in 2017 and some universities have to adopt other strategies in selection of the most eligible students, the process at a point later had to be abolished. The use of students’ WAEC/NECO to determine the eligibility of the students for admission could make the already bedeviled SSCE an open pool for cheaters to swim.
It may invariably influence high level of examination malpractice during the WAEC and NECO because students will feel it and take it as determinant of their admission fate. The Post UTME/JAMB examinations no doubt is very essential and vital to the tertiary institutions with their current capacity to application rate because it is the only appropriate and convenient method available at their disposal to sieve the most eligible students to be admitted into the tertiary institutions in the country. According to Kuye, the students paid money to purchase the JAMB forms that qualify them to write the examination and still pay money for post UTME. The money paid by the applicants especially as regulated by the Nigerian Senate for the UTME are essential to the universities, especially considering the fact that Federal Government does not take full responsibility of running universities. However, the Federal Government can embark on funding the admission processes to lighten the burdens of parents, particularly the indigent parent and students. The institution has to admit students based on their respective capacities.
Considering the amount of applicants yearly who may not be admitted even if they have the aggregate points eligible to be admitted the institutions could not still admit all of them. The Federal Government therefore need to build more tertiary institutions in the country and also provide more facilities and staff in the already existing institutions in other to cater for the ever increasing annual applicants in the country.
Rabi Isyaka Rabiu wrote from Kano.