Nigeria Post-Ume Test: Matters Arising

The post-UME Screening was introduced in 2005 by the then Minister of Education- Mrs Chinwe Obaji (June 2005-June 2006) following the Universities outcry against the credibility of the examination conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).  There has been a great hue and cry since its inception. Recently, Mr. Samson Positive, a member of the House of Representatives sponsored a motion for the scrapping of the Post-UME tests.

He argued that the test has not lived up to its billing. He said further that Universities charged exorbitant amounts for its conduct and submitted that the only body recognised by Nigerian law to conduct Matriculation examinations was the JAMB and it should be allowed to continue in its conduct. He was joined and supported by other law makers including the Chairman, House committee on Education, Farouk Lawal. 

Other Stake holders in the Education sector including vice-chancellors and chancellors of Private Universities have reacted negatively to the move by the House of Representatives to scrap Post-UME Tests. Dr. David Oyedepo, the Chancellor, Covenant University, in his reaction as reported by one of the Nigerian Dailies said no Institution could stop the faith-based University from conducting its own screening for Prospective students. He said ‘’There is no way you can stop any institution from conducting its own screening examination to determine the quality of prospective students.’’ 

Dr. Isaac Nwaogwugwu, a lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Lagos in one of his lectures to the Distance Learning Students of University of Lagos emphasised the importance of Post-UME Screening. He said it shows the true test of knowledge which UME has failed to show. He submitted that the second best student in UME some years ago was once admitted into University of Lagos but was later rusticated because of his educational imbalance.

It was posted on Naira land website that during some of the Post-Ume screening tests at the Nnamdi Azikwe University, Akwa, a candidate who applied to read law in the University was asked to mention the qualities of a good lawyer. She answered by saying a good Law (not even lawyer) should read the Bible always, a good law should wear suits, a good law should go to church everyday, a good law should be happy at all times. Then, another candidate who applied to study the same course but in another University and scored 320 points in JAMB, gave the name of the author of things fall apart as GENERAL SANNI ABACHA. Yet another candidate who scored 290 points  and applied to study Medicine in one of our Universities when asked, answered that the difference between plants and animal was that animal gets married and plants do not. This is what JAMB has turned our future leaders into. 

By and Large, Post UME Screening test has proved successful to some extents. Try as the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board does to curb examination malpractices, the more the evil genius spreads abroad. 30 Percent of the candidates who wrote the newly introduced Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in Lagos went into their centres with Telephones and other communicative gadgets. It was reported that some invigilators even encouraged and collaborated with the students to cheat during the Examination after collecting token amount of money from them. Despite the fact that the examination body provided the candidate with writing materials like Pencils, erasers, sharpeners, calculators, etc. These were not enough to stop the students from showing their stuffs but other candidates who sat for the examination outside Lagos especially in Ibadan and Ogun states gnashed their teeth at the end of the examination as the invigilators were very strict and did not allow them to perform their rituals. Most of the students travelled to these states from Lagos because of the fear that it might be difficult to cheat in Lagos.

In 2008, University of Ilorin introduced the writing of post-UME Tests through computer-based test (CBT).The exercise was marred with fraud, complaints, confusion and irregularities. The students were made to pay higher prices. About five centres were used then including Lagos, Ilorin and other centres. A lot of the students went through their noses in order to be registered. Some parents travelled from a long distance to locate the centres of their wards which was not successful at the end of the day.

Also, in 2008, Lagos State University (LASU) paraded several students who came to help their friends in writing the post-Ume screening. LASU also charges exorbitantly. Unconfirmed report had it that LASU allows Students to write the Test more than once and the date of the examination is not always made public to de-register many people who will later pay huge money to re-write the examination. 

As at last year, University of Ibadan only combines the result of school cert examination and that of UME and comes out with a cut-off points for the students. The students also go through interviews to select the best among them and they are made to pay small amount of money which is better than the way other universities conduct their own. 

University of Lagos introduced the writing of Post-UME Tests via computer last year and the students were charged with token amount of money. The exercise was a success to some extents but was also marred with irregularities. Some students did not see their results at the end of the exercise, they were called to come and re-write the examination not considering their time and convenience. The students came but their old results were released instead of the new one they re-wrote. 

A student who wrote the post-UME test in University of Benin complained that she was asked to pay N25, 000 before she could pass the examination. According to her, she was unable to raise the money and she was asked to prepare for the test next year. She failed the examination. 

In 2005/2006 Post-Ume test conducted by University of Port Harcourt, it was reported that the candidates were charged between N2, 500 to N, 5000. 80 objective tests with one Essay writing were set as questions and 1 hour was the time allowed but the answer scripts were collected from the students after 30 minutes into the examination. Although the argument was counter claimed, the fact remains that between N2, 500 to N5, 000 was charged. 

However, Post-UME Screening exercise should be allowed to take its course, but Universities should adhere strictly  to the rule of the game- each University must not charge more than N1, 000 (One thousand naira) per candidate. The Nigeria University Commission should monitor this thoroughly. Also, Universities should make its publicity known to the prospective candidates through newspapers and electronic Media. 



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