ASUU, JAMB differ on unified exams for varsities, others

THOUGH yet to be implemented, the proposed Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) designed by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) may take off on a shaky note.

Reason: A key stakeholder in the scheme, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), yesterday questioned the timing of its implementation.

Going by the timetable designed by JAMB, the maiden edition of UTME is scheduled to be held on April 17, 2010. Already the forms for the examinations are on sale in designated banks across the country. The proposed system means that all the matriculation examinations into all the tertiary institutions in Nigeria would hold the same day as against the previous system, whereby matriculation examination into universities and those of other arms of tertiary institutions used to take place on different dates and venues.

But while ASUU believes that the project needed more time to be effectively implemented, JAMB still insisted that the time for it was now.

And the Federal Government yesterday officially reiterated its backing for the project. At a national symposium organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with JAMB in Abuja with the theme: “UTME is the Gateway to Quality Tertiary Education in Nigeria”, the Minister of State for Education, Aishatu Jibril Dukku said contrary to the widely held misconception, the new system would not pose additional cost on parents and their wards.

But ASUU President, Prof. Ukachukuwu Awuzie noted that Nigeria needed more time to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the new examination.

In an interview with journalists at the venue of the symposium, Awuzie believed that while the concept was a good one, it needed more time for implementation.

He added: “We need to sit down and look at the UTME because there are inherent problems in it. For instance, if you are going to conduct one examination, using the same qualification and you say you are increasing access, you don’t increase access through exams, you increase access through carrying capacities, which means infrastructure, equipment and staff, these are things you require to increase access, these things don’t come through examinations.

“Secondly, you are almost changing the government education policy of this country overnight without consultation with stakeholders. For instance, now candidates need to have five credits in order to take the examinations, which those who used to go for the National Certificate in Education (NCE) did not have up to five, and you are using that to phase out NCE and ND (National Diploma), there are so many unanswered questions regarding the take-off of this programme”.

Awuzie wondered on the rush for the implementation of the project, advising the policy makers against undue haste all in a bid to be seen to be completing a project.

According to him, “Somebody can initiate something, if the process begins to go through, it does not have to be completed during his or her tenure, but we have developed a penchant of believing that once you are there, once you have an idea, it must be completed during your own tenure, it does not have to be.”

But the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, said contrary to ASUU leader’s claims, the new policy was deliberated on by all stakeholders and was, in fact approved by the National Council on Education (NCE), the highest decision policy making of the ministry and it was incorporated in its roadmap.


  1. pls, from this unconcluded opinion of ASUU and jamb, what exactly will be the finally conclusion because we all know UTME is on sale. and will NCE student not having up to 5credit be allowed for the exam or not. pls sheld more light on this.