By Emmanuel Edukugho
DESPITE persistent controversy trailing the introduction of post-Unifed Tertiary Matriculation Examination (Post-UTME) formerly called post-UME since 2005 by the Federal Government, university Vice Chancellors are resolute in retaining the policy.
Apparently speaking the minds of his colleagues, Professor Michael Oladimeji Faborode, Vice Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU), Ile-Ife, came out in stout defence of post-UTME at Grace School, Gbagada, Lagos 12th Valedictory Service/Graduation ceremony recently.
He said that because wide spread malpractices characterised the conduct of Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) university entrance examinations with candidates getting unmerited scores ranging between 300-400, the need for post-JAMB screening test became absolutely inevitable.
â€œStudents came in with scores of 300-400 in JAMB but failed in the university because they brought fake results.
Over 30 per cent of students admitted later dropped out. Such people prevent genuine ones from coming in. With post-UMTE, the fake ones are screened off and genuine ones come in.â€
The OAU Vice Chancellor acknowledged that students are now doing well because of the screening.
â€œBefore, those who came to the university often stay up to 10 years and do not graduate. They are professional students, just hanging on, running after lecturers, doing nothing. They will tell their parents that they are in Ife, but will be elsewhere.â€
Faborode, who was Eminent Guest Speaker, told the story of a student who claimed to have graduated, and doing NYSC in Kaduna. To make sure, the father of the student sent a sister to Ife to find out about the boy, who was still asking for money to pay for some things at the university.
â€œThen I found that the boy had withdrawn five years ago, but was still going home every time to ask for money as if he was still in the university.â€
He urged the Grace High School graduands to reflect on what they want to do. That there are many courses available and so wonâ€™t be difficult to get the right course.
â€œMy dear graduands, you are born to succeed, not fo fail. Anything different is ignored. Success is not achieved on platter of gold, but on set goals. As youths, the future belongs to you and you can conquer the environment. Only your character that will keep you up â€” dedication, loyalty, discipline and fear of Godâ€.
The VC cautioned them: â€œOnly well rounded, total child that will stand the challenge that can make it into tertiary institution which is your next step. Remember that God is the centre of your life.
So let fear of God be the beginning and end of what you do. You are under divine coverage against temptations. You will face temptations, but must hold your head to avoid vicesâ€.
He listed the vices which included examination malpractices, certificate forgery, cultism, thuggery and lawlessness that have affected society and now in tertiary institutions.
â€œStay away from such things. Itâ€™s a fallacy that when you join cults, you will be much stronger stay away completely. Be diligent, stay focus, stay on course, persevere, life is not bed of roses. So perseverance is very important.â€
The need to build tenacity was stressed as the VC pointed to Thomas Eddison, the man who invented electric bulb, having failed several times before achieving success.
â€œYour future is assured but depends on how you hold it in your hand. Donâ€™t allow anyone to take it away from you. The world is in your hand, hold firmly to it. By grace of God, this school will attain great height, you will carry away sweet memories.
You willÂ plough back and reinforced the school. As you go, donâ€™t forget Grace High School. Nostalgic feelings will continue to follow you after leaving. Donâ€™t forget the school, give something back to the great school.â€
To the parents, Faborode said they have too many things to run after and so left everything about their children to the school.
â€œBut this is the time parents should move closer to the children and also move closer to the school authorities to help manage the children. Truth will prevail over falsehood, no matter how long.â€
Mr. Ronald Cilliers, Principal, Grace High School, in an emotion-laden speech, said that although the graduands were leaving Grace School, but grace wonâ€™t leave them.
â€œWhen you came in six years looked like eternity, but the six years have swept by, completed. Some of you will become judges, lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants, you will have a special place in my heart. I will miss you.
We applied tough laws on you, but itâ€™s finished and you are now on your own.â€
He noted that things which come easy in life do not make impact.
â€œYouâ€™ve made contributions that will affect those of us left behind. I commend the oneness of the students, the head boy, head girl as you found your ways into my heart. Donâ€™t forget God-for protecting you. Never forget we love you. We are here for you,â€ said Cilliers.
Chief Lanre Awolokun, Special Guest of Honour and Chairman Board of Governors, told the graduating students: â€œYour grace wonâ€™t be disgrace. You wonâ€™t walk when the road is hungry, you will never walk in darkness, a privilege for you to be here.
Few years to come, you will appreciate what Iâ€™m saying. Avoid the sin of ingratitude. You are our ambassadors, remember your parents, represent the school very well, remember where you come from, appreciate this school. Some of you will study in Nigeria, others abroad. Appreciate what the school has done for you. It is a mini-university.â€
Awolokun added: â€œAs you go into the world, the grace of God will be with you.â€
Chairman of the occasion, General Alani Akinrinade (rtd) former Chief of Staff, Nigerian Army, in his speech, commended the founders of the school and thanked God for the legacy of this school, congratulated the graduands for successful completion of their secondary education and wished them bright future.
Merit Awards were given to some eminent personalities. The recipients were Lt. General Alani Akinrinade (rtd), Professor Akintunde Cole-Onitiri, Professor Michael O. Faborode, VC, OAU, Hon Justice Ayotunde Phillips, Head Judge, Lagos State, Chief Lanre Awolokun, Chairman, Board of Governors, GHS, and Alhaji Babs Alade Animashaun, founder, Patron and former National PTA President. Special recognition went to Deaconess Grace Bisola Oshinowo, founder and Director of Grace Schools.