Post-UTME Scrapping; A Panacea Or A Conundrum?
It is no longer a news that Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination popularly known as PUTME has been scrapped. It took the intervention of the Federal Government through the office of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu to put an end to the system, a development which is not unconnected to the fact that the process has been viewed by many to have lacked merit and has served as a means through which institutions exploit admission seekers to generate huge income.
Before the Post UTME exercise was scrapped there were universities charging as high as six to seven thousand naira for the admission exercise. An average tertiary institution records thousands of candidates sitting for Post UTME and perhaps if each candidate pays seven thousand naira for the exercise, is this not too much of our ivory towers? Even after candidates had gone through thick and thin to cough out the exorbitant charges, candidates are still not guaranteed admission. As a matter of fact, there are instances where some candidates could not sit for the Post UTME exams owing to financial constraints, hence blocking any chance of being admitted. It's believed that it was on this basis coupled with other things that formed the reasons why the programme was scrapped.
Even though, the scrapping of the Post UTME exercise as well as the introduction of the newly recommended admission screening exercise has been greeted with contentions, many believed that the decision was praise-worthy thinking that the new admission screening exercise would be the type that would avail the both the rich and poor fair admission opportunities. The new style of screening is more of a "result grading system" giving much importance to candidate's ordinary level (O’level) results coupled with UTME performance.
Taking a critical look at the newly introduced system, one would be forced to ponder if it is not the case of ‘pouring a new wine into an old bottle’. The non-extant Post UTME as meritless and exploitative as it was perceived to be by many, some now think it's still better if compared with the new admission screening exercise as the later involves a cumbersome and complex system, in which tertiary institutions would have to grade candidates’ O'level results as well as UTME results.
Another contention is that, the additional weight and importance given to O'level results by the new screening style is unwarranted. Reason being that, the bodies conducting these exams have had their images dented with issues of incompetence and ineffectiveness, making people doubt if there exams are still true tests of knowledge. Another unanswered question is whether the newly introduced system would not lead to a situation where candidates engage in several malpractices with an eye on its influence on their admission chances. This means that the 0'level result is not just a requirement for admission seekers but now a powerful determinant.
Some institutions, in compliance with the new directives, recently came up with their screening modus-operandi which entails pocket-tearing charges. Then why was post UTME scrapped? Was it not because of its exploitative nature?
A renowned University has the following as screening charges totaling the sum of 6,850 naira:
SCREENING FEE - N1,500
EPORTAL ACCESS CHARGE - N5,000
BANK CHARGE - N350
If candidates would still pay charges as high as this, has there been any change at all? Are these charges really relevant? Is this not tantamount to pouring a new whine into a new bottle? Do you think Post UTME shouldn't have been scrapped at all? Is its scrapping a panacea or a conundrum?
Adeyeye Eyitayo is a student of the Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-ife and a member of the OAU Peeps Team