Post-UTME is meant to ensure that only brilliant candidates gain admission into higher institutions. But candidates are worried that most universities sell forms beyond the number of students they can admit. MOTUNRAYO ABODERIN writes
Dayo Komolafe was so certain she would be admitted into the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, in 2008. Since she scored 248 in the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and 80 per cent in the university’s Post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, she felt she had no cause to worry. But alas, she was not admitted because the university had limited space.
Last year, Ife Asaolu, another candidate, had a similar experience. She said, “I was told that the university had space for just a specific number of candidates. I was disappointed. I feel I wasted my N1,250 buying the university’s Post-UTME form. I’m sure they already had an idea of the number of candidates they would admit, but they still went ahead to sell forms to more candidates. These universities are extorting money from us.”
Another candidate, Daramola Ayo, also shared the view that universities extort money from candidates through excess sale of Post-UTME forms.
“I was so disappointed with Yaba College of Technology’s claim that they could only admit 4, 500 students out of the 110,000 candidates that bought their Post-UTME forms because of space. Didn’t they know before selling the forms that they want to admit 4,500 candidates? This is bad. These institutions are not concerned about the candidates who apply. They are out to make money from the candidates. Will YabaTech refund the money of the candidates who qualified but were not admitted?
“In UNILORIN, 43,871 candidates applied and sat for the Post-UTME but only 23,871 candidates passed. However, just 8,093 candidates were admitted. What happened to the remaining 15,773 candidates? Let us assume they failed the exam, but why did the institution sell forms to such a large number of candidates when it had space for just 8,093 candidates?” Ayo said.
A student, Dayo Atolabe, had mixed feelings about the issue. “I believe some universities increase the number of Post-UTME forms they sell to candidates to defraud them, while some universities use it as a way to raise money for projects.
“The number of Post-UTME forms universities sell to candidates should be close to the number of candidates they hope to admit,” he said.
Prof. Poju Akinyanju of the Department of Pure and Applied Biology, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, noted that the cost of Post-UTME forms exceed the government’s fixed price.
Akinyanju said, “The government claims to have set a maximum fee of N1,000 for the Post- UTME test in each university. But the reality is that the minimum is N2,000. In some private universities it cost N10,000. The average is N5,000. The increase is masked as administrative and result-checking charges.
“Each candidate spends a minimum of N12,000 and an average of N30,000. Even if she/he limits herself/himself to two universities, the cost is N10,000. Add to this the cost of transport and accommodation, and the risk of travels on roads that are death traps. It then becomes clear that the programme as presently conceived is not affordable and should not be sustained.”
According to Akinyanju, the introduction of Post-UTME has not improved the quality of candidates universities admitted.
“No evidence has been provided to prove that a better set of students are getting admitted since Post-UTME was instituted. I am not aware of any study that has correlated first year or final year performance to the UTME and post-UTME scores, at least in the public media.
“As such, the stress, the cost and the risk have not been justified and may not be justifiable. The main reason the universities have taken to two routes which compromise admission systems appears to me to be the pecuniary gain from the post-UTME and the other which is remedial/pre-degree programmes. Experience has shown that not much is remedied in the Pre-degree programmes and that it would be better if efforts are targeted at improving the quality of products of our secondary schools,’’ he stated.
Based on the admission process into the tertiary institutions, Akinyanju said each candidate now had seven examinations and possibly a number of interviews to undertake. He said, “ She/he writes the UTME test; two Post-UTME tests each to her/his first and second choice universities, polytechnics or colleges of education.
“Some institutions such as the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, conduct a post-UTME examination interview. If we merely consider the amount of effort an individual has to put into searching for admission, it cannot be acceptable,” he added.
The Public Relations Officer, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos State, Mr. Adekunle Adams, however said the reason why the institution didn’t place restriction on the sale of Post-UTME forms was beacasue they wanted to give candidates equal preference.
He said, “ We recived 110,000 candidates that chose YABATECH as their first choice. It’s only fair that all these candidates have the opportunity to sit for our Post-UTME. We couldn’t have selected a few and ignored the others because the institution doesn’t have enough space. That is not right.”
The Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, UNILORIN, Mr. Kunle Akogun, also said it was impossible to restrict the sale of Post-UTME forms to candidates.
He said, “We can’t restrict the sale of Post-UTME forms. Everyone must be given a fair chance. At the same time not all candidates can qualify. Many are called but a few are chosen.”
Akogun noted that universities were not extorting candidates and that money got from the sale of Post-UTME forms was not enough for the administration of the examination. “This process is not a money-making venture. The money we make out of the sale of Post-UTME forms is less than the cost of running computer-based Post-UTME,” he added.
Similarly, Prof. Sam Onuigbo of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said the reason why universities sell more than required number of Post-UTME forms was because they are looking for excellent candidates.
“Universities advertise so that they can get a wide range to choose from. These universities are in no way extorting money from candidates. It costs so much to organise Post-UTME exams; pay invigilators, print forms and handle other logistics. The money these universities spend exceeds the total money got from the sale of Post-UTME forms. It’s a competitive world and each university wants the best,” he said.
Onuigbo added that the candidates who were complaining about the cost of Post-UTME forms were those who failed to gain admission.
“It is a 50/50 chance. Not all candidates can gain entry into a university. The money from the sale of Post-UTME forms is invested in the university. Universities are not extorting money from candidates,” he said.
The Pro-Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Prof. Akinjide Osuntokun, said it was important for universities to conduct Post-UTME exams so as to examine candidates who claimed to have excelled in UTME.
“Some candidates will claim to have scored 350 in UTME but when they sit for our Post-UTME exam, they fail. This Post-UTME exam serves as a point check. Also, universities sell Post-UTME forms to more than the required number of candidates that can be admitted in order to give candidates who did not excel in UTME a second chance to prove themselves,” he said.
Osuntokun said the status of JAMB makes it difficult to determine the originality of candidates’ results, adding that there should be a centralised system where candidates sit for just one exam.
He, however, lamented that corruption in the education system had made having a centralised system impossible.
“We should advise the government to scrap JAMB and allow universities handle their examination,” Osuntokun state