The nation has been warned against scrapping of post-UME test which a segment of the society including Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are pressing for, as it will bring us back to the dark days of poor quality entrants into university system.
Professor Peter Okebukola, immediate past Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) and Pro-Chancellor, Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State, at the first convocation ceremony of the institution last Thursday, said that in our march to be among the best in the world, we must continue to keep our eyes on the quality ball.
â€œWe must continue to keep within the NUC-specified carrying capacities regarding enrolment into our programmes. We must continue to select the best from the secondary school level.â€
He praised JAMB for the excellent work in improving the matriculation examination process.
Okebukola insisted that, â€œwe must continue to administer the post-UME filter in the original way it was conceived. Post-UME was not conceived to be another multi-choice test as many universities have now adopted.
These universities have strayed completely from the original path. Since the UME would have assessed knowledge of subject-matter using multiple-choice tests, Post-UME is to screen candidates in other attributes such as writing skills and oral expression.â€
He stated further: â€œWe want to admit students who can write at least two paragraphs of essay in good English and who have the demeanour of beig good potentials for undergraduate education.
These require that the candidates should be given essay and oral tests which should be conducted by JAMB in liaison with the universities. With only the multiple-choice UME, and multi-choice Post-UME, we will not be able to screen out the poor quality products from the secondary school level from our universities.â€
It was pointed out by the former NUC scribe that, â€œscraping the Post-UME which is being advocated by a segment f the Nigerian society will brig us back to the dark days of poor quality entrants into the Nigerian university system.â€
Fielding questions from the press after the convocation ceremony, Okebukola predicted what seemed like doom or calamity that may befall the university system in Nigeria if Post-UME is dropped, as we may be back to the dark old days when merit was sacrificed.
â€œAnybody who says that Post-UME should be scrapped does not love Nigeria. But they should do away with multi-choice questions format. Let JAMB who has the constitutional responsibility for the admission process, do the arrangement and incorporate any two essay questions with it.â€
He supported the payment of fees for Post-UME test, at least the meet with the administrative costs of conducting the exercise. â€œLet JAMB handle the Post-UME in conjunction with the universities although fees might be hiked. They will be able to assess oral skills.â€
Earlier in his address as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Crawford University, he noted that over the last four years, council has laid down policies for the smooth conduct of the activities of the university, saying that under the able leadership of the Vice-Chancellor, these policies have been implemented with a great deal of zeal.
â€œWe have remained focussed in the pursuit of our vision of producing graduates with balanced education. We are training students in this university with three special attributes â€“ fear and love of God, possession of 21st century skills, and high level of development of knowledge, skills and attitudes in their specialised disciplines.
With graduates such as these, the Nigerian economy, indeed the Nigerian society is poised for a rapid turnaround for good.â€
According to Okebukola, the university system in Nigeria is decried by many people as presenting the worst-case scenario in the world with regard to university education.
â€œBut anywhere I go outside Nigeria, graduates of the Nigerian university system are very well regarded. At the recently concluded World Conference on Higher Education, many participants lauded the quality of graduates from our universities and assessed them as being highly intelligent, resourceful and goal-getting. As recent data also show, graduates from Nigerian universities pursuing higher degrees in Canada, UK and USA turn out to be easily the best in their class.â€
But he also noted that perhaps these products from our universities are not typical of the entire system. â€œAdmittedly, many graduates especially from universities where there is severe over-enrolment and running of illegal programmes are of very poor quality. However, the indication one gets is that something good is coming out of our universities when examined system-wide.â€
In his convocation address, professor Moses Toye Ige, Vice-Chancellor, Crawford University, recalled that the Federal Government handed over the license to operate the institution to the Proprietor (Apostolic Faith Church Africa Overseer, Rev. Paul Akazue) on 9th June, 2005. On the 30th of September, the university opened its doors to the students now graduating.
â€œIf you ask me how this was possible, given the circumstances on the ground at that time, I will tell you with all sincerity that I donâ€™t know how. But God did it, and we all marvelled. It is God that has been our strong support and has taken us over terrains, steep mountains and deep valleys normally impossible for man to pass but we are today celebrating the marvellous work of that God who makes impossible possible.â€
He said that the university is an institution with a vision, which is to be centre of excellence producing graduates with well-balanced education between intellectual excellence, and moral integrity; thus the Motto is Knowledge with Godliness.
â€œWe are not priding ourselves in the number of the degrees we are awarding them, but in the fear of God we had imparted into our students. As we release them from here into the world as Pigeons of Peace, they will preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ by their behaviour, in their day to day activities, that it is possible to be educated and Godly in this dark and crooked environment,â€ Ige declared.
He congratulated the graduands, reminding them that they have been taught to stand on their own with the support of almighty God, who is the source of true knowledge and wisdom.
â€œOne could have good grades and degree without being truly educated. Education of the mind without corresponding knowledge of God creates a menace for the society â€” the type being experienced in our nation.â€
The Vice Chancellor advised the graduands to do everything within their power to propagate the vision of this university and be good ambassadors of your great Alma Mater. He challenged them to think deeply about how they can be self-reliant and even become employers of labour. â€œJustify the confidence we repose in you by your admission into the various degrees. Do not involve yourself in anything that is inimical to the interest of this university and your own integrity.
Rev. Darrel D. Lee, General Superintendent of the Apostolic Faith Worldwide was conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Theology (D.Th) (Honoris Causa) of Crawford University. Rev. Paul Ogechukwu Akazue, Africa Overseer of the Apostolic Faith was also conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) and was formally installed as Chancellor f the university.
A breakdown of the overall result showed that of the 175 graduating students, nine got first class honours, 79 students had second class upper, 790 students came out with second class lower, while the rest graduands had third class.
The famous Choir and Orchestra of the Apostolic Faith staged a special convocation concert and gave heart-throbbing rendition to the delight of the massive audience.
Goodwill messages were given by several vice-chancellors of other universities or their representatives, and registrars. Ogun State Governor was represented by the Education Commissioner with eminent personalities and traditional rulers, parents, church dignitaries from some parts of Nigeria and Africa present.