JAMB, UTME, Post-UTME Should Not Be Scrapped – Prof. Bello | Independent Newspapers Limited
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JAMB, UTME, Post-UTME Should Not Be Scrapped – Prof. Bello

Posted: Mar 9, 2016 at 2:45 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

Professor Rahaman Bello is the 11th Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos. In this interview session with newsmen in Lagos before the just concluded 48th convocation ceremony, he speaks of issues bordering on the education sector and UNILAG community. Oyeniran Apata presents excerpts from the session.
We were told at a ceremony like this that all first class graduates of the university would be given automatic employment, how many of such graduates are on the payroll of the university?
We didn’t say that all first class graduates will be employed. What we said was that the best two graduating students in any programme with Cumulative Grade Point Average of not less than 4.00 will be employed. That has been done with about 189 already benefitting from the gesture. Those who graduated last year were not eligible because we don’t want to flout the NYSC rule.

The rising population of students has given rise to the difficulties in securing hostel accommodation, what arrangements has the management put in place to solve accommodation challenges students face?
Year in year out this has been a challenge. The council of the university has taken up this issue. How did we get to this level? This is because some governments in the past, out of their policies, decided that no new hostels be built in Federal Universities. Unfortunately, Lagos is not like the University of Ibadan where you can walk across the road and secure accommodation; not as easy in Lagos because we are in a harsh environment where the issue also affects staff of the university as well as the students. But, what we have been doing is to go the way government wanted using BoP and PPP system.
As at today we have not succeeded. All the arrangements have been failing. In the last four years none have come up. We have called for BoP, but, none has come up. The only one that has come up has not shown enough commitment. We are looking at other options and on the lookout for other opportunities. The one we are building now is from the NEEDS Assessment fund at the El-Kanemi Hall for 1,000 bed spaces. In another month it should be ready.

What are the programmes in place to assist students acquire skills alongside academic learning and by extension support the economy of the government?
I want to inform you that the University of Lagos has put in place entrepreneurship and skill development centre with two objectives. One is the skill development to give special skill in areas that will make them job ready. Secondly, is to identify those who have entrepreneurship traits and assist them to achieve their potentials. The centre is completed and in the next one month they will be ready to take on students.
In engineering, we have partnership with LG that has an Air-conditioning Centre in the Faculty of Engineering that teaches all an individual needed to know about air-conditioning engineering. We also have partnership with RT Briscoe that has set up a workshop on the campus for maintenance of Toyota and other brands of vehicles. The centre provides an avenue for training in automobile engineering for those who are interested and prepare our students for the world of work.
We are putting up a centre with the creative art department that imparts skill in students in the relevant areas. Similarly, we have training in other areas with IBM to train students in cyber security, mobile system and big data analysis. We are in discussions with some alumni in telecommunication companies to second their 2G and 3G facilities that are no longer in use to set up our telecommunication facility where our students will be trained for the sector.
We are setting up a finishing school for professional in communication fields, writing, spoken English Language. There are entrepreneurship courses taken by every student across the faculties. Our students will surely pick up a skill that will make them more useful to themselves and the community in general.

As the only university in the country by the seaside, what is the management doing or has put in place to generate electricity from the Lagoon through hydro method?

I want to say that we enjoy electricity supply because of the substation cited in our community. We enjoy supply more than the communities around us and most universities in Nigeria. We probably have the largest direct consumption of electricity apart from the electricity generation companies. However, we are not generating electricity from water neither do we generate electricity ourselves. I will tell you why. Electricity generation from the body of water surrounding the university is not economical. This is because one will need an efficient level in terms of the body of water. Hydro electricity is from waterfalls that will drive the turbine.  The water we have has two dimensions. We have had proposals and people have come for inspection. They will require more research in order to generate electricity from the Lagoon at commercial volume from the body of water around.

Let us also inform you that the university has tried to generate its own power through gas in the past. We had proposals and followed it up, but, unfortunately at that time there was no purchase agreement in place and we waited for a long time until the arrangement changed. If we have our way, there are ways for institutions like ours to directly generate electricity and venture into other areas that will help the institution commercially. We are not free with the little fund coming to us.  If anything contrary happens you will respond to the queries. We are being conscious.

There have been agitation for the proscription of JAMB; what is your position on this and UTME?
I don’t see why JAMB, UTME or Post-UTME should be scrapped. JAMB is a creation of the universities themselves. If JAMB is not getting an aspect right, what is needed is just to make amends and not to scrap. JAMB is necessary to sieve through the applications of would be candidates and it is the first sifting mechanism. Otherwise there was no JAMB when institutions and candidates were few. It was easy for intending candidates to select universities and institutions of their choice. That time, candidates seek admission into 4 or five universities. In that case offer of admission is given in four universities and by implication usurping the opportunity of other candidates that could be offered a place in the three other universities.

So, JAMB is a clearing house as the first contact because they cannot admit for universities and it is not admitting students for universities. What JAMB does basically is to screen candidates and send their results to respective institutions that will now select those who meet the minimum requirement.
Universities will now recommend to JAMB to give successful candidates provisional admission. That is the procedure. So JAMB is relevant and important and should never be scrapped. If there are issues around its operations, that in my opinion is what should be examined and resolved. The post-UTME came in as a means of further screening candidates.

The essence of Post-UTME was to screen out candidates with very high marks in JAMB but will end up struggling to pass 100 levels after admission into the system. We found that those who were in the middle grades of JAMB were those making 2-1 and First Class, which means there were manipulations. There is need for the examination to continue.