'The abolishment is a huge mistake' - Afe Babalola

“It must be emphasised that every university has the right to screen the candidates it wants to admit. It also has the right to embark on other exercises, whether written or unwritten, to make it and its products stand out."

JAMB candidates

Founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado EKITI (ABUAD) Aare Afe Babalola has expressed his opinion that the decision of the Federal Government to scrap the Post-Universities Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) test is not in the best interest of Nigerian students.

He described the directive as a “calamitous mistake, which poses danger and irreversible adverse effect on quality of education in Nigeria."

Babalola also expressed his concern that this decision was taken without considering how the concept of the post-UTME came into being.

He explained that the concept of the Post-UTME test came into being in 2003 when it was discovered that “many of the students admitted into Nigerian universities through JAMB were not only academically deficient, but couldn’t justify the high marks they scored at JAMB examinations”.

He spoke of cases where JAMB examination papers were being openly sold to students at examination centres while some examination centres dubbed miracle centres were openly but unofficially designed to guarantee high marks for some candidates.

According to him, the most pathetic aspect of the saga was that it was later discovered that most of these students with such high marks were unable to cope academically upon their being admitted to the universities.

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Babalola said: “It was at this point of this national embarrassment that the Committee of Pro Chancellors of Nigerian Universities under my chairmanship, met in Abuja, x-rayed the cankerworm and recommended to former President Olusegun Obasanjo that JAMB should be scrapped because the integrity of its examinations has been called to question.

“The Post-UTME had proved to be a veritable quality control measure, which I believed had been working and working well. For example, the first Post-UTME we conducted at the University of Lagos, where I was then the pro chancellor and chairman of council, yielded positive dividends.

"As a result of the introduction of the Post-UTME, the quantum of students who were asked to withdraw because they could neither defend the high marks they are parading nor cope academically upon admission, dropped considerably.

“Besides and in any event, those who were using JAMB to get jumbo marks also reduced while JAMB and its results became more credible. With the innovative measures introduced by Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, JAMB’s helmsman, to re-invent the examination body, its results have become a lot more credible.

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