197,050 qualified candidates denied admission in seven universities
JAMB Not Ready To Extend UTME Validity Beyond One Year
As gaining admission into tertiary institutions in the country becomes an arduous task, data obtained from some schools around the country by The Guardian, sharply contradicts claims by the Joint Admission and Matriculations that over 75 per cent of the total number of qualified candidates that applied for admission were admitted into institutions of their choice for the 2017/2018 academic session.
In fact, figures from only seven schools sampled by The Guardian, indicated that 46, 950 candidates (barely 20 per cent) were admitted from a pool of 244, 000, who were successful in the post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (POST-UTME).
The JAMB, which recently claimed that more than 90 per cent of institutions in the country complied with the deadline to end their 2017/2018 admissions by January 25, also said that the introduction of the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) by the board was to ensure a seamless admission processing.
A breakdown of data from the sampled institutions showed that of the 104, 000 candidates that qualified for admission to the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), only 11, 000 were eventually admitted. In the case of the University of Ibadan (UI), 27, 000 candidates scaled the hurdle, but only 3, 750 got placements. Of the 20, 000 candidates that the Lagos State University deemed qualified after the post-UTME, only 4, 000 were lucky. Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Edo State, squeezed in 8, 000 candidates from the 15, 000 that were qualified, and the University of Benin managed to absorb 10, 000 out of the 21, 000 that scaled through at the post-UTME stage. The University of Port Harcourt gave admission to only 6, 700 candidates out of the 37, 000 that recorded success in the post-UTME, and the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State created space for a paltry 3, 500 out of the 20, 000 successful candidates from its post-UTME.
JAMB’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Dr. Fabian Benjamin, in an interview with The Guardian maintained that the few schools that couldn’t adhere to the admission directive were those institutions with peculiar challenges.He said: “More than 90 per cent of the admissions have been completed by institutions as at the stipulated deadline. The few that couldn’t meet up were those institutions with peculiar challenges, some with accreditation status that are not clearly defined and need regulatory authorisation; and some who are just taking off and need what we call sourcing of candidates. This level of compliance is encouraging and by next exercise, we should be talking about total adherence.”
Asked what becomes of the thousands of candidates rolled over into 2018/2019 session, who have to start the fight anew in view of the one-year validity of the UTME results, the JAMB image maker said, “It was not within the powers of the board to determine what happens to a candidate not admitted into any institution. Besides, we don’t roll over candidates. It is the right of candidates to apply. However, what we have succeeded in doing is to monitor admission closely, a development that has led to more candidates being admitted this year.”
On calls by parents and candidates for the extension of the validity of UTME result to three years as proposed by lawmakers, Benjamin said that; “The three-year validity is not at the root of any admission challenge. The inability of candidates to secure admissions are strictly the choices we make as candidates, parents and some of the regulatory policies. We are doing everything possible to address these challenges, as we recently secured the approval of one of the regulatory agencies to waive some subject combination for UTME.
As the admission crisis festers, some affected institutions are urging the Federal Government to give priority attention to university education by increasing its allocation to the sub-sector, and addressing salient factors exacerbating the access challenge, which include shortage of facilities for teaching and learning; shortage of academic staff; inadequate number of universities; inconsistencies in admission criteria across universities, and limitations in national admissions policy.
According to Public Relations Officer, University of Port Harcourt, Williams Wodi, instead of government considering the establishment of new universities to cater for the teeming admission seekers, it should expand the capacities of existing institutions.Wodi, who noted out that of the 1.7 million that wrote the last UTME, the totality of all the nation’s universities cannot take more than 570, 000 stressed that, “this is a very big problem, already, lecturers are overburdened. The NUC said we need about 32,000 Ph. D holders to teach in our universities, where do we get that?”
While also harping on the need for the government to strengthen existing colleges of education and polytechnics by upgrading them to degree-awarding institutions, he urged the government to revamp polytechnic education; make its products globally relevant and competitive, and put in place uniform entry requirements for all tertiary institutions. Media aide to the vice chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Mr. Sunday Saanu, also stressed the need for government to expand existing facilities for improved access.