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19 Jul 2017

Post-UTME: DELSU shuns FG directive, over new charges

Contrary to Federal Government’s policy, Delta State University, Abraka, has announced its readiness to conduct “computer-based aptitude tests” in place of post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination for the 2017/2018 academic session.

Besides, the university is charging each candidate N5, 000, in addition to N1, 000 bank commission, bringing the total cost to N6, 000 against the maximum N2, 500 allowed by the government’s order for the screening.

In an official bulletin with reference number S.E. Vol. XXIV No. 36 and dated June 13, the institution directed candidates to visit its admission portal to “generate a virtual pin with N5, 000’’.

Candidates were directed to make the payment at Ecobank, Unity Bank, Zenith Bank, UBA or Fidelity Bank.

According to it, the payment is for centre-screening and covers honoraria for centre-facilitation, logistics for producing screening materials and security.

But, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, had in a statement on June 28, 2016, warned tertiary institutions against charging candidates for post-UTME screening.

The warning followed reports that some institutions had ignored the earlier abolition of post-UTME test and devised other means to screen students with certain fees imposed on them.

“Any screening which tertiary institutions choose to conduct should only be for the purpose of 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,” Adamu said.

When contacted, the Registrar of DELSU, Mr Daniel Urhibo, confirmed the authenticity of the school’s bulletin and defended the N5, 000 screening charge per candidate.

“It is an aptitude test. We are not setting another kind of examination for them the way JAMB sets for them, and it is going to be computer-based,” Urhibo said.

Asked to differentiate the “computer-based aptitude test’’ from the post-UTME test abolished by the government, he said that the Federal Government did not scrap post-UTME test.

“It is the same agency of the government that said `you can select your students.’

“Twenty-six thousand candidates applied to DELSU; how do you select, may be 5,000 or 6,000? There must be some kind of uniform test to assess them.

“Last year, we asked them to submit their secondary school results and we graded them. Do you know that people claiming to have `A’s in their results could not write their names?

“Some of them had forged results. We went to the internet and discovered that somebody who claimed to have scored 300 in UTME had just 120.

“So, if you use that type you won’t get the best; that is why there is some kind of a little aptitude test for them,’’ he said.

Urhibo explained that the N5, 000 fee was needed to conduct the exercise as the university was not in a good financial position to bear the cost.

“We need materials to do this test; we will pay the people who are going to administer the test and those who will mark it.

“We need money to service our computers and to develop the software for the test. So, from where do you expect us to get the money to do these?’’

The minister of education or spokesman of the ministry could not be reached for reaction to this in spite of several attempts in more than two weeks.

However, a top official of the ministry, who craved anonymity, said what the university was trying to do was illegal.

The National Universities Commission tasked with enforcement of the abolition of the post-UTME test and screening charges, was also not forthcoming on the matter.

Its Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, neither answered several calls to his mobile telephone nor replied enquiry sent to him via SMS and Whatsapp.

The commission’s spokesman, Mr Ibrahim Yakasai, also did not respond when contacted through the three channels.

- NAN

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