(Fred Ezeh, ABUJA)
Federal government is considering scrapping the second round entrance exams being conducted by the National Examination Council otherwise known as NECO, for graduating primary school pupils who are interested in gaining admission into the federal government colleges otherwise called Unity Schools.
Daily Sun gathered that the reason was that the examination body has abused the process, using it as an avenue to exploit the parents of the students and also expose them to some unnecessary emotional and psychological stress before gaining admission into school of their choice.
Some parents whose wards were victims told our correspondent in Abuja that admission process in Unity Schools is covered with “big fraud”.
A parent Mrs. Nkechi Orjiakor narrated her experience to our correspondent during one of the admission exercise. She said that her son passed the first round of the exam and his name was shortlisted by NECO .
But unfortunately at the second round of the exercise, there were several malpractices allegedly orchestrated by the exam body in collaboration with the schools to frustrate students. She said that the organization of the exam was poor, limited time for the exam, and in some cases, two students were given same exam number.
She said that parents were charged between N2, 500 and N2, 700 for the second round of exam into the unity schools depending on your distance from your choice of school . The second round exam is for those who passed the first round and their names shortlisted by the apex exam body.
A Director in the Ministry, in an exclusive chat with Daily Sun correspondent in Abuja said that the Minister had received several complains in that regard and had vowed to take it up.
The Director said that the Minister had also frowned at several exams that primary and secondary school students are subjected to, before securing admission into University or Unity schools as the case may be and has vowed to put a permanent stop to it.
The source further said that the initial objective of the exam was to select the best academically qualified students for admission. “But regrettably the performance of students in the past years of such exercise have proven otherwise,” the source said.
The source recalled that the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu had issued a circular last week reminding Universities that the ban on Post-UTME examinations is still in force, warning Universities management not to incur the wrath of the government by going ahead with the exercise.
He also asked those who might have conducted such exams to cancel it, and refund the money to the affected students with immediate effect.
Mallam Adamu also directed all relevant department and agencies of Ministry to beam their searchlights on the Universities to ensure that the directive is totally complied with.
In that regard, the source said, “There’s no empirical evidence supporting the claims by academic staffs of the University under the umbrella of ASUU that the several entrance exams that is being conducted for students to gain admission into these schools have improved the quality of the graduates that is churned out every year, rather the rate of expulsion, carryovers, poor grades and other related cases that was the reason for the several exams at the first place are still evident in Nigerian schools.
“Take a critical look at the records of these schools, you will be shocked that there is no improvement in academic performance of students, say in the few years of the Post-UTME. Instead of academic and moral improvement as was expected, otherwise seem to be the case. What then is the justification for the Post-UTME and the SECOND round of NECO exam conducted for entry into unity schools?” He asked.
The Director claimed that findings have shown that it is at the second round exams, in the case of Unity schools that good and brilliant students are weed out, thus giving place for the friends and acquaintances of the teachers who must have “bribed” their way out to gain admission into the school.
However, when contacted by Daily Sun, the Deputy Director (Press and Public Relations) Mr. Ben Bem Goong said that he has not been briefed as regards the matter.