WHY POST-UME TEST MUST STAY

Sunday Saanu

Last year, a female candidate applied to study economics in University of Ibadan (UI) with excellent results in School Certificate Examination and Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB)’s examination. Specifically, the female potential student of Economics paraded eight distinctions (A1) in eight subjects at the school certificate level and 284 marks in JAMB conducted examination – Fantastic results combination that attracted UI to invite her for “interaction”, UI’s model of Post University Matriculation Examination (UME) test. At the post UME interaction, the panel members were so “impressed” with her supposed results, that they had almost asked her to take a bow and go until someone from the panel, probably out of curiosity, posted a simple question to her. Young lady, with your results, you are definitely going to lead the class, but before you go, as a prospective economics student, what is GDP? Dazed. The lady began to fidget, scratching her head as she started sweating. Initially, some of the panel members thought she was intimidated by the presence of some professors, thereby, giving her time to relax. But, alas, the candidate bungled as she later confessed that someone wrote the exams for her. In other words, the results were not hers. However, this mumbo-jumbo was only uncovered at the post UME interaction!

If that was a ludicrous case in the faculty of the Social Sciences, a similar mendacious situation occurred during the Post-UME test in the Faculty of Arts, in which a candidate with equally considered “good results” who wanted to study English could not spell “island, tomorrow and occasion.” Yet, this was a candidate with distinctions and 275 marks in JAMB’s examination. These two cases are just illustrations of the beauty of post-UME interaction, an integrity check in the university admission process.

With these kinds of experiences during the post-UME interaction year in, year out. One is therefore left curious and confused when Hon. Samson Positive from Kogi state sponsored a motion recently, that the federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission (NUC) cancel the so-called post-UME. His argument was that post-UME test was an additional
burden to the students seeking admission into the universities, more so, many parents could not afford the cost. He further posited that many universities were using Post- UME test to generate money, thereby extorting prospective students.

Unfortunately, the lawmaker did not tell the nation how he came about this ridiculous conclusion from his wrong assumptions. He did not tell his colleagues how many universities he visited in the course of his research and how many parents complained about the cost as well as how he measured the burdensomeness constituted by the conduct of the post-UME to student seeking university admission.

Indeed, a wrong problem diagnosis will always lead to a wrong prescription. It is stating the obvious to say that the motion;, which was more impetuous than methodical has been generating a serious concern among the stakeholders because it is fraud tendentious. Without any fear of contradiction, one can authoritatively assert that many of the “fantastic results” being paraded by some of the admission seekers are phony. Some of these results from WAEC, NECO and JAMB are, to say the least, the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau: It is only during the post-UME interaction (at least, as far as I know, in UI) that the buried truth resurrects.

That WAEC, NECO and JAMB results need further scrutiny is not in doubt. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Prof. Olufemi Bamiro while kicking against cancellation of Post-UME disclosed eI personally participated in the supervision of the last UTME in Ibadan. Several candidates were caught with mobile telephone sets containing answers to the JAMB examination questions and JAMB itself had to withhold the results of thousand of candidates for reasons not far. Removed from examination malpractice in one form or the other.” Prof. Bamiro further said, there is no gain saying the fact that for every candidate caught, these are most likely several others who have escaped with unmerited marks, yet, these are the candidates who will be right in front for admission. As a matter of fact, this is what informed the need for post-UME.

What is Post-UME? Post – UME, to use the UI model as an example, is a kind of interaction based on information elicitation technique with a view to authenticating the claims of the candidate’s academic profile. In UI’s post-UME.interaction model, candidates are not made to sit for another set of examination. Rather, it is an interaction of less than 20 minutes during which candidates are orally asked a few questions relating to their proposed fields of study. For example, a candidate who wants to study Economics is asked to say something about GDP, IMF or Bank reform. Where is the burden in this? UI’s post-UME model is so transparent that every candidate knows his fate immediately. If you can not answer three questions correctly from five, who will offer you admission?

However, when people are now calling for the cancellation of this type of quality assurance mechanism, as a result of ignorance or less informed scholastic research into the matter, it is apparent that there is hollowness in the advocacy. If universities will not become breeding grounds for ill-baked, sophomoric and dilettantish graduates, then, post UME test must remain to be part of our admission process criteria

Since its introduction in UI four years ago, the percentage of withdrawal level has reduced drastically. In fact, post-UME test has a correlation with the general good performance at the under graduate level. Between year 2000 and 2008, the average first-class graduates we have is 63, but last year, (2009) being the year of the first set of post-UME candidates, we have 99 students graduating with first class. Isn’t that impressive? Cancellation of post-UME test cannot do us any good!

National Assembly should not be seen as invalidating misnomer. It breeds intellectual irritation when people legislate without data. As a matter of fact, legislating without data is like embarking on a journey without road map. National Assembly must not make a shipwreck of this brilliant idea of post-UME test because this motion looks more like on act of impulse than calm deliberation!

Sunday Saanu(08059436919)

University of Ibadan

sundaysaanu@yahoo.com

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