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Over 1.4m candidates for computer-based UTME

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• Nine new varsities get provisional licences

A TOTAL of 1,475,477 candidates, including 208 inmates from Kaduna and Ikoyi prisons, will write this year’s computer-based Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has confirmed.

   This year’s UTME is scheduled to hold between March 10 and 21 across 400 centres in the country and seven foreign countries, including Ghana, Cameroun, Republic of Benin, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Ethiopia.

   JAMB Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, who disclosed this in Abuja Thursday at press conference to announce the board’s preparation for the examination, also revealed that 208 inmates from Kaduna and Ikoyi prisons would be writing the exams.

   However, he lamented that the entry for this examination is far short of last year’s, which was 1,632,172 for the paper pencil, the dual-based and computer-based tests.

   Ojerinde, who attributed the decline in the number of applications to insecurity in some parts of the country, with a decrease of 156,695 applicants compared to last year’s, added that the registration process for thee computer-based examinations has also eliminated the incidence of dual or multiple registration by candidates.

Exam slips will be available

The registrar further assured that all candidates would receive their registration printout slips before the exams, adding that the board would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the nation’s education sector is placed on the same pedestal with that of other developed nations.

Imo with highest applicants

Meanwhile, Imo State has the highest number of applicants (104,381) this year, while the Federal capital Territory has the lowest (4,085). Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, with the challenges of insecurity, also ranked among the lowest with 15,692, 15,613 and 10,044 candidates respectively.

Provisional licences for new private varsities

Moreover, efforts to open access to university education in the country were boosted yesterday as the Federal Government issued provisional licences to nine new private universities.

   They include St. Augustine University, Ilara, Lagos State, Chrisland University, Owode, Ogun State, Christopher University, Mowe, Ogun State, Hallmark University, Ijebu-Itele, Ogun State, and Kings University, Ode-Omu, Osun State.

   Others are Micheal & Cecilia Ibru University, Owhrode, Delta State, Mountain Top University, Makogi-Oba, Ogun State, Ritman University, Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa-Ibom State, and Summit University, Offa, Kwara State.

   On the heels of this, government said it plans to absorb thousands of unemployed Ph.D holders into the Nigerian university system, where they could be of tremendous help.

   Presenting the licences to the proprietors of the universities, Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, said the establishment of more varsities was informed by the need to open up admission space for the swelling population of candidates seeking university education.

   He explained that in as much as the universities and their proprietors had gone through a rigorous process in getting the provisional licence, government would not tolerate any breach of the conditions of their approval.

   “While government appreciates the courage of the proprietors to partner it on a project of this nature, which is not expected to be for profit, it will not tolerate any breach of the conditions of the approval,” he said. “Any unwholesome practice or operation outside the provisions of NUC guidelines is unacceptable and will attract appropriate sanctions.”

These new universities brings the total number of universities in the country to 138,Federal 40,States 39 and Private ones 59 respectively.



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