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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 8 NO 2, DECEMBER, 2010


POST-UME SCREENING EXAMINATIONS AND GRADUATE QUALITY OF NIGERIA’S TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

 

Kassim O. Ajayi

 Department of Educational Management

 Tolani A. Hassan

Department of Business Management, and

 Abisola O.Lawani

Department of Physics and Mathematics, Tai Solarin University of Education,Ijagun, Nigeria

                                                                E-mail:abikaz2003@yahoo.com

 

Abstract

 This paper is based on the effect of Post-Universities Matriculation Examinations (Post-UME) screening examination on the quality of graduates produced in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. The Post-UME is opened to candidates who obtained minimum score in UME , which each university determines. As a descriptive survey, the study population comprised of 450 from three universities in the Western Geo-Political zone of Nigeria and Ogun state was chosen.  In Ogun state, there are six universities (one federal, two state and three private) owned universities.  The strata of the sampling were drawn from 100-300 level students of the selected universities in Ogun state based on the fact that these students came in through the Post-UME and experienced different university management perspectives.  The instrument used for data collection was titled “Effects of Post-UME Screening Examination Questionnaire (EPSEQ)” while frequency counts and simple percentages were used to analyze the data collected. As anticipated, majority of the respondents showed a wide acceptance of Post-UME. One of the recommendations of the study was that both UME results and Post-UME results should be jointly used by all universities in Nigeria to conduct their admission process in order to produce quality graduates.

 

Keywords:Screening, performance, graduate, tertiary, admission

 

Introduction


In Nigeria, university education is a cherished commodity.  It is the aspiration of potential secondary school leavers to get admitted into the university to pursue a degree.  One of the major constraints facing the university system in Nigeria is the selection and placement of students into the departments in few universities available in the country.  What the education system has tried to do over the years is to sort out these applicants with potential, to benefit from education provided within the universities.  Unfortunately, the number of applicants outweighs the number of available spaces due to our outrageous population that was not projected for in advance.  The result was that many applicants had to apply for admission in more than one university.  There was therefore the problem of multiple applications, examinations and acceptance.

 

The establishment of a regulatory body known as the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) was therefore a welcome development.    The Board was established in 1978 under Decree No. 2, and was amended by Decree No. 33 of 1989

In carrying out the Board’s statutory responsibilities the board conducts the Universities Matriculation Examination (UME) for placement in the respective tertiary institutions.

 

Statement of the problem

Observations and reports from employers of labour revealed that a high percentage of graduate produced in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions have no functional skills and this often generated much concern especially to the stakeholders in education business.  In addition, there is the problem of the general misconception that the Post-UME screening examination is an avenue for fund raising programme for most universities, given the steadily increasing “administrative charges” of conducting the examination coupled with the power play politics in the admission process in most universities through Post UME.  As a result of these factors, this study sought to investigate the extent to which Post-UME screening examination determine the quality and achievement of graduates produced in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.

 

Research questions

In carrying out this study, the following research questions were addressed:

Q1.      Are the goals and objectives of introducing the Post-UME screening examination been realized?

Q2.      How do students perceive the Post-UME programme generally?

Q3.      Can we use Post-UME screening examination as a direct substitute for UME programmes?

Q4.      What are the major effects of the introduction of Post-UME screening examination on the quality of graduates produced in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions?

 

Methodology

The study is a non-experimental type and a descriptive survey research design was adopted.  The target population for this study comprised all the 100-300 level students in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.  The choice of this group of students was based on the assumption that they all came into the universities through the post-UME screening examination.  The sampling for the study was done in stages and multi-stage sampling technique was adopted.  First, purposive random sampling technique was applied in selecting was used in selecting one state from the western geo-political zone in the country and Ogun state was chosen.  In Ogun state, there are six universities (one federal, two state and three private) owned universities.  Three universities were purposively selected for this study, these are one Federal university one state owned university and one private owned university.  The students of the three universities constituted the sample for the study. The third stage involved using stratified random sampling technique to select a total of ten departments each from the selected universities in Ogun state, Nigeria.  Finally, simple random sampling technique was employed to select fifteen undergraduates of 100 – 300 levels comprising male and female students from each of the participating departments.  In all, the sample consisted of three universities and four hundred and fifty undergraduates.  In order to collect data and provide answers to the research questions, a questionnaire titled: “Effects of Post-UME Screening Examination Questionnaire (EPSEQ)” was developed by the researchers.  It consists of two sections.  Section A solicited information on the name of the university, faculty / college, course, level and sex, while section B solicited information on the perception of students on post-UME screening examination.  The questionnaire consists of 20 Likert scale items with four options ranging from Strongly Agee (SA) to Strongly Disagree (SD).  The researchers used the instrument to collect required data from 450 undergraduates of the three universities selected.  Data were analysed using frequency counts and simple percentages statistical tools.

 

Results

RQ1:    Are the goals and objectives of introducing the post-UME screening examination being realized?


 

Table 1:           Goals and objectives of introducing post-ume screening examination

Items

SA

A

D

SD

Without Post-UME my dreams of admission would not have been realized

99

(22.0%)

72

(16.0%)

141

(31.3%)

138

(30.7%)

Through Post-UME, I got admitted into my programme of choice

150

(33.3%)

135

(30.0%)

105

(23.3%)

60

(13.4%)

Many students admitted through Post-UME have an adequate preparation for university education

96

(21.3%)

147

(32.7%)

114

(25.3%)

93

(20.7%)

Through Post-UME many students end up in courses for which they have no interest

120

(26.7%)

135

(30.0%)

144

(32.0%)

51

(11.7%)

Merit does not seem to have been applied in selection through Post-UME

108

(24.0%)

174

(38.7%)

96

(21.3%)

72

(16.0%)

 


From the table above, the first three items 1,4, and 6 are positively structured and Strongly Agree (SA) and Agree (A) are expected to have higher percentages for the items when combined.  From the table, items 4 and 6 have higher percentages, for Strongly Agree and Agree showing that majority of the students got admitted into their programme of choices through Post-UME and that many students who got admission into universities through Post-UME have an adequate preparation for university education.  It was also revealed that some of the respondents also agreed that many students end up in courses for which they have no interest in and that merit does not seems to have been applied in selection through Post-UME.  This is because many said that students were asked to change courses due to one reason or the other probably from computer science to technical education or secretarial administration at times to home economics and hotel management and so on.

 

 

 

 

 

RQ2:    How do students perceive the post-UME programme generally?


 

 

 

Table 2:     Students’ perception of the post-ume progeamme

Items

SA

A

D

SD

I have confidence in the quality of students admitted through Post-UME

153

(34.0%)

120

(26.7%)

81

(18.0%)

96

(21.3%)

Post-UME is an easier examination than JAMB.

90

(20.0%)

147

(32.7%)

123

(27.3%)

90

(20.3%)

Cheating hardly takes place in Post-UME

120

(26.7%)

105

(23.7%)

171

(38.0%)

54

(12.0%)

Post-UME scores do not reflect the applicants’ level of knowledge.

165

(36.7%)

156

(34.7%)

60

(13.4%)

69

(15.3%)

Post-UME will not instill sanity in university admission processes.

138

(30.7%)

165

(36.7%)

96

(21.3%)

51

(11.3%)

Post-UME is of no use.

174

(38.7%)

123

(27.3%)

78

(17.3%)

75

(16.7%)

 


It is expected that for negative items, Strongly Disagree (SD) and Disagree (D) should have higher percentages and for positive items Strongly Agree (SA) and Agree (A) should have higher percentages.  From the table, out of the three positive items (i.e 5, 10 and 11), only items 5 and 10 have higher percentages (60.7% and 52.7%) respectively for Strongly Agree and Agree when combined.  Also, items 12, 17 and 18 have higher percentages for Strongly Agree and Agree instead of Strongly Disagree and Disagree.  This shows that majority of the respondents have confidence in the quality of the students admitted through Post-UME, they believed that Post-UME is an easier examination than JAMB.  The respondents are not of the opinion that cheating hardly takes place in the post-UME, they agreed with the statements in items 12, 17 and 18.

 

RQ3:                Can we use post-ume screening examination as a direct substitute for ume programme?


 

Table 3:           Use of post-ume screening as a direct subtitute for ume programme

Items

SA

A

D

SD

There is no need for Post-UME JAMB is just enough

192

(42.7%)

180

(40.0%)

42

(9.3%)

36

(8.0%)

Content for JAMB and Post-UME examinations are the same

144

(32.0%)

126

(28.0%)

99

(22.0%)

81

(18.0%)

Use of Post-UME score alone is inadequate for admission

141

(31.3%)

132

(29.3%)

93

(20.7%)

84

(18.6%)

 


The table shows that the respondents agree with the statements in all the three items (2, 3 and 5) with the percentages of agreement ranging between 60.0% and 82.7%.  It follows that students are of the opinion that there is no need for Post-UME screening examination and unanimously agreed that JAMB is enough.  The respondents also agreed that content for JAMB and Post-UME examinations are the same; and that the use of Post-UME score also is inadequate for admission.

 

RQ4:                What are the major effects of the introduction of post-UME Screening Examination on the quality of graduates produced in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions?


 

 

Table 4:           Effects of post-ume on the quality of graduates produced

Items

SA

A

D

SD

Post-UME reduces the competition as only good quality applicants get selected

183

(40.7%)

132

(29.3%)

81

(18.0%)

54

(12.0%)

Anybody who passes Post-UME is sure to be admitted

144

(32.0%)

177

(39.3%)

60

(13.3%)

69

(15.3%)

Post-UME has increased the public confidence in university admission process

132

(29.3%)

195

(43.3%)

96

(21.3%)

27

(6.0%)

Post-UME has reduced admission racketeering

111

(24.7%)

171

(38.0%)

123

(27.3%)

45

(10.0%)

Students admitted through Post-UME know the value of university education

138

(30.7%)

114

(25.3%)

123

(27.3%)

75

(16.7%)

 


The table above shows that majority of the respondents ranging between 56.0% and 72.6% agreed on the statements in all the items.  They are of the opinion that Post-UME reduces the competition in the tertiary institutions as only the quality and good applicants get selected.  The respondents are also the opinion that any candidate who passes the Post-UME screening is sure of been admitted and that Post-UME has reduced admission racketeering, thus, making students who are admitted through Post-UME to value university education and have an adequate preparation for university education.  This also increased the public confidence in university admission process.

 

Discussion of findings

As anticipated in the research questions, majority of the respondents showed a wide acceptance of the Post-UME screening examination as an antidote to the falling quality of graduates produced in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.  The result shows that Post-UME screening examination has a significant effect on the quality of graduates produced in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions as well as the candidates’ academic performance and level of acquiring knowledge.

 

Furthermore, the respondents said that admission racketing, cultism, inability of the students to cope with the academic rigours, has been reduced through Post-UME screening examination as only students who know the value of university education are been selected.  This also reduced competition rate as only good quality applicants are selected, thus, Post-UME instill sanity in university admission process and increased the public confidence in university admission process.

 

Again, the findings show that the respondents neither agree nor disagree with the statement that cheating hardly takes place in Post-UME screening examination.  But they are of the opinion that students who are admitted through Post-UME screening examination hardly dropout of the university without graduating, unlike their predecessors who came in through UME only.  This finding is also corroborated by Afemikhe (2005), who observed that “since the inception of Post-UME screening examination, many university administrators see it as a panacea to most problems associated with students such as cultism, radicalism, dropouts, change of courses, spending of extra year(s) before graduating, poor grade or class at the end of the programme, and attitude towards academic work.  In short, some administrators see Post-UME screening examination as an educational reform which if given an opportunity to run full cycle would lead to standard improvement”.

 

Though, majority of the students agreed that most university management used Post-UME fees as an avenue to make more money but they are not of the opinion that good quality students are given admission at the end screening, unlike during UME only when there are lapses in the university admission process.  This result agrees with the findings of Nwana (1999) who proposed a strong public confidence as a major feature of the Post-UME screening examination.  This also corroborates with the findings of Afemikhe (2005) who is of the opinion that Post-UME screening examination should have a good perception in terms of use and interpretation in order to ensure credibility in university admission process.

 

Conclusion

Based on the result of findings, it can be concluded that the contributions of Post-UME screening examination towards ensuring sanity in university admission process is quite enormous and JAMB should take note of the major areas where lapses do occur in the conduct of its examination and ensure that the lapses are corrected towards further ensuring credibility in university admission process.

 

 

References

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