Monday, 29 September 2008

Great Rip-off

Universities turns post UME screening into a money making exercise

By Anita Ochoga

After paying the fee of N5,600 for post-University Matriculation Examination, Post-UME, form and scratch card, 22-year old Farida Bello was sure of securing admission at the Benue State University, Makurdi, moreso since she was sure of what she wrote in the examination. Surprisingly, Farida was not among those offered admission by the university. She told Newsworld that she borrowed money to buy both the JAMB form, post-UME form and scratch card all in a bid to gain admission into one of the nation's universities. Another candidate, Nawaorisa Ameachi, said he spent N3,000 for the post-UME form of the University of Jos and N2,000 for a scratch card but was also left in the lurch.

Since the introduction of post-UME screening exercise into universities' admission policy prospective, university candidates have been passing through difficulties in gaining admission into any of the nation's universities. No matter the scores of the candidate at UME, his chances of securing admission depends not on his performance at post-UME examination conducted by respective universities but rather at the mercy of the university. The problem is further compounded with the introduction of an electronic method both in filling the forms and checking the results. As usual, the brunt is borne by parents and guardians.

Mr. Attah Mark, who has four children said he paid through the nose to secure admission for them into one of the nation's universities. He told Newsworld that the universities use post-UME to rip-off Nigerians. Most universities have resorted to post-UME to generate revenue.

Fees charged depend on individual universities. This however, is not a guarantee for admission. Some universities give preference to indigenes during admission. For instance, though Nassarawa State University, Keffi sells its post UME form for N2,500, indigenes of the state are given 90 per cent as against non-indigenes 10 per cent ration.

Peter Zuma, who applies to Kogi State University, Ayingba, told Newsworld that he scored 72 marks at post-UME last year while the school cut-off mark was 45 marks. Zuma was however, denied admission because he is not an indigene of Kogi State. He notes that only children of highly connected people gain admission no matter the candidate's performance at JAMB and post-UME examinations.

When post UME examination was introduced, university vice chancellors said the aim was to checkmate unqualified persons from entering the university system. Then, the whole idea was a welcome development, but little did Nigerians know it was going to be a money-making business by universities.

Newsworld gathered that some universities sell post-UME forms till the day of the examination because of the large profit the school makes from the exercise. While the initiative is good on paper and expected to help screen candidates for a better university system, the same authority have been indicted in the fraudulent act.

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