THE Federal Government has warned that any university or other tertiary institutions caught conducting the post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (post-UTME) in violation of its earlier directive will face appropriate sanctions.
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, issued the threat on Monday, against the backdrop of reports that some institutions had defied the government’s ban on the post-UTME and have gone ahead to conduct the test.
It was gathered that some institutions had also advertised in the media in preparation for the conduct of the exercise.
But Adamu said those who had already advertised for the conduct of the post-UTME under any guise should stop the exercise immediately, as “any university caught conducting post-UTME will face appropriate sanctions.”
He added that if any tertiary institution had already conducted post-UTME, ‘‘such an exercise stands annulled and money taken from such candidates must be refunded immediately.’’
He has accordingly directed the National Universities Commission (NUC) and appropriate departments in the ministry to communicate this directive to relevant agencies and institutions to ensure strict compliance.
Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Mr Ben Bem Goong, in a statement, confirmed that the minister reiterated the ban on post-UTME conducted by tertiary institutions for admission into universities and other higher institutions of learning in the country.
Adamu said the ban was with immediate effect and that under no circumstance should any institution violate the directive.
He explained that although he had made this known earlier, the emphasis had become necessary in order to ensure that no stakeholder was left in doubt as to government’s position on the matter.
Affirming his position on the ban, the minister said the responsibility for admission into public tertiary institutions lied solely with the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and under no circumstance whatsoever should anybody or institution take over that responsibility by proxy.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, any educational institution after secondary education is regarded as a tertiary institution.
“Therefore, all tertiary institutions, polytechnics, colleges of education, universities or by whatever name it is called after secondary education must be subjected to admission through the JAMB.
“At the end of probationary admission by JAMB, the candidates can be cleared (screened) for final admission. For any institution with a shortfall in admission, such institution can revert to JAMB for supplementary admission.
“Clearing in this case (screening) entails only the verification of certificates of the candidates, JAMB scores and any other physical examination to ensure that such candidates are not cultists.
“After this, the candidates are qualified for matriculation. Such screening should be at no cost to the parents or students and should be done upon resumption in order to avoid unnecessary travels in search of admission.
Mallam Adamu decried the situation where final year students in secondary schools were subjected to too many examinations all in one year, describing it as traumatic, exploitative and absolutely unnecessary.
According to him, “mere admission into the university does not guarantee any student the award of a degree until such a student successfully goes through a minimum of eight examinations (for four-year courses) or 10 and 12 examinations (for five and six year courses), among other requirements.”
The minister wondered why any university would not be satisfied with examining a student for eight, 10 or 12 times for the award of a degree, but would rather sort to conducting entry examinations, adding that the universities were at liberty to expel any student who failed to meet up with the requirements of the award of any degree enrolled for.
He also said there had been no empirical evidence to show that since the inception of post-UTME, universities had been having better quality students, adding that students were still being expelled on a yearly basis for low performance, even as they gained admission through post-UTME.
Furthermore, Mallam Adamu said he was deeply concerned about the plight of parents/guardians who spend fortunes on transportation, hotel accommodation, examination fees and sundry costs, just for their wards to gain admission into our universities, adding that such practice negated the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s resolve to make education affordable for Nigerians.
The minister said he was also mindful of reported cases where some staff of tertiary institutions take undue advantage of the female students in their quest to gain admission into the system.
Adamu also acknowledged that in some cases, parents die in the process of travelling to secure admission for their wards, and never live to see those children through, a situation he described as painful and avoidable.
Meanwhile, there are indications that new decisions may be taken this week over the resolution of the Federal Government to discontinue with the post UTME tests being conducted by tertiary institutions for candidates seeking admission in the schools.
The Nigerian Tribune gathered that heads of the universities in the country were scheduled to meet with the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu over the matter during the week.
The meeting, according to the Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Abdulganiyu Ambali, who spoke with newsmen in Ilorin, at the weekend, would separately involve heads of federal, state and private universities.
He said the vice chancellor of federal universities would meet with the minister today while those of the state and private ones would have their meetings tomorrow and Thursday respectively.
“The directive for the abolition of post-UTME was an executive directive. Since then, different universities have been thinking on how best to admit prospective candidates, what protocol to observe, what to do in order to screen candidates that would come in.
“As God would have it, we got a letter or a notice about two days ago that we should be in Abuja, on Tuesday, that the minister wants to meet all the vice chancellors. The main agenda is on this issue.
Ambali also said it was untrue that Unilorin had decided on any date or modality for post-UTME or had asked prospective applicants to pay for any fee into any bank for post-UTME.
He asked the prospective applicants to visit Unilorin website and take instructions from it. He stated that other forms of communication other than from the website were not authentic, adding that the prospective applicants should be careful to avoid being misled or duped. The VC said he was hopeful that the Nigerian University Commission would increase the admission quota of the university, as he said Unilorin had increased its infrastructural and human capital facilities.
“I have a strong belief that it may be not less than what we have last year, because between last and now, we have added more facilities in the campus, more lecture theatres, more lecture halls, more offices for staff and more equipment.
The VC also said there had been positive development on the accommodation issue with the university, as many people and bodies had shown commitment to building more hostels in the university. He also said accommodation capacity for students had been increased significantly.