FG, ASUU On War Path Over Scrapping Of Post-UTME | Independent Newspapers Limited
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FG, ASUU On War Path Over Scrapping Of Post-UTME

Posted: Jul 19, 2016 at 6:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Innocent Oweh

Abuja – There are strong indications that another industrial crisis may be looming in the nation’s university system as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday kicked against the decision of the Federal Government to scrap the Post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (Post-UTME).

ASUU in its argument said the policy undermines the autonomy and powers of university Senate as the highest policy making body on academic matters, particularly admission of students and award of university degrees.

Some universities in the country have been alleged to be flouting the directive, going about their usual process of conducting the Post-UTME.

But Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, also on Monday, reiterated that the ban on Post-UTME still stands and takes effect from 2016/2017 academic year.

Adamu said it would be in the best interest of the vice chancellors to adhere strictly to the policy.

Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU president, opposed the stance of government at a press conference held in Abuja.

He said ASUU considered it appalling that no consultation with stakeholders especially with the union and vice chancellors was held before such a far-reaching policy like the scrapping of Post-UTME test was pronounced.

“The cancellation of Post-UTME, to us, portends serious danger for the quality of education in this country.

“The argument of Federal Government on the policy is unacceptable and potentially harmful to the future of Nigerian’s education system. We call on government to rescind its decision and convene a genuine stakeholders’ meeting on the issue before making any policy statement,” he said.

Ogunyemi in faulting the minister of education said he does not enjoy the sole prerogative to endorse the examination conducted by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

“Such statement coming from the minister was unfortunate because JAMB should not be saddled with the responsibility of solely conducting entrance examinations into the nation’s tertiary institutions.

“We call the attention of the Honourable Minister of Education to the fact that Post-UTME is a child of necessity and rationality and a decision that Nigerian universities had to take when the credibility and integrity of JAMB examinations and results became questionable.

“When universities were admitting solely on the basis of JAMB scores, unimaginable discrepancies were observed in the JAMB scores of candidates and their performance in the first year in the university.

“Consider a candidate who got a JAMB score of 290 out of a maximum of 400 yet had to withdraw from the university at the end of the first year on account of very poor performance. It is important to note that this happened not in isolated cases. Virtually all universities reported such cases.

“The University of Ibadan conducted a study on the correlation between JAMB scores and performance at the university, and reported a negative correlation between the two. The results were published in the Ibadan Journal of the Social Sciences. The introduction of Post-UTME was based on sound empirical evidence,” the ASUU president said.

He argued that there has been considerable improvement in the quality of students admitted into the universities since the introduction of Post-UTME which, according to him, was evident in the declining drop-out rate.

While stressing that universities resorted to charging fees for the conduct of the Post-UTME due to poor funding by the governments, Professor Ogunyemi said the screening was a quality assurance test which the Federal Government and all Nigerians who care about educational standards should applaud and not condemn.

“The Post-UTME has its problems which we believe can be addressed. To curtail exploitation of parents and candidates, government can improve funding to universities and other tertiary institutions,” he said.