Only 35.9 per cent of prospective admission seekers who sat for this year’s UTME stand the chance of gaining admission, CHIKA MEFOR, reports.
Every year, many Nigerian youths enrolled and storm the Computer Based Test (CBT) centers to write the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in hope of getting admission into the tertiary institutions in the country.
In the just concluded UTME, a total of 1,652,825 candidates indicated interest in writing the examinations.
Expectedly, all of them strive to secure admission into the different tertiary institutions across the country.
But the worry is that only 35.9 per cent of these candidates will be getting admission because of limited admission spaces.
It is gathered that only about 593,000 spaces are available for the teeming number of youths seeking entry into the higher institution.
Last year, the National Universities Commission (NUC) revealed that there were limited spaces for admission into Nigerian universities which can only accommodate about 30 per cent of the 1.7 million candidates who wrote the UTME in 2017.
The NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, while appearing before the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund noted that owing to the limited admission spaces in tertiary institutions, an admission crisis was inevitable in the country.
“Out of about 1.7 million candidates who took the UTME, it is just about half a million that can be admitted into our universities. The crisis of admission in this country is inevitable.
Unless we expand spaces, we shall continue to have an admission crisis in this country. Every examination has its own problem. We believe that the JAMB examination is credible and all of us operating in the system respect the results of the UTME,” he said.
Even after the Federal Ministry of Education issued provisional licenses to the six new established private universities, last year, including the establishment of Zamfara State University this year, making the universities increase to 162, in addition to polytechnic and colleges of education, the admission crisis still persists, as many admission seekers will still be left hanging next year.
Document obtained from NUC showed that the admission quota for the 2017/2018 for universities, colleges of education, polytechnic, and religious based institutions stood at 593,771.
Of course private universities have 86, 439 admission quota, followed by Federal Universities which had 300,513 quota and State universities with 170,448 quota.
The colleges of education, polytechnics and religious based institutions have a total of 36,371 out of which colleges of education have 33,160 admission quota while 1,727 is for polytechnics and 1,484 for faith based institutions.
When 593,771 as the admission slot is placed side by side with the number of candidates who sat for the UTME which is 1,652,825, one would notice that, only 35.9 per cent of the number of candidates who wrote for the exam will get admission while the remaining, 64.1 per cent (1,059,054) youths who had taken the tertiary qualifying examination would still be looking for admission next year, in addition to 1.5million students who would be sitting for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) this year.
However, according to the data revealed by the Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Prof Is-haq Oloyede, many candidates take the UTME ithout the possessing the minimum O’level requirement for getting admission into tertiary institutions.
According to him, in 2017, 1,840,225 candidates applied for the UTME and Direct Entry (DE). A total of 1,187,997 candidates out of the above met the minimum cut-off points for the admission exercise of which 842,505 possess the minimum O’level requirement and cut-off points.
While some schools of thought frown at creation of more government owned universities and giving licenses to more private universities, others think that it will be the solution to reducing the numbers of qualified candidates seeking for admission without success. Speaking on the issue, the Vice Chancellor of Veritas University, Abuja, Prof
Michael Kwanashie stated the only way to narrow the gap is to bring in more private universities to operate in the country.
“I believe it is helping the educational system of the country. As far as the universities are run properly. I am happy that the National University Commission are doing their work. If they continue to ensure that it is done, properly, I think federal government have no choice than to register more universities.
“The number of people who are qualified after taking JAMB, far outnumbers the universities. If universities are critical to national development, why is it that we are not enabling those who can pass the JAMB exam to go the university? Why is there a deficit? The deficit
between the demand and the supply, why can’t it be narrowed? So the only way it can be narrowed is to allow other people to come into the education sector.
‘’The issue is that all the universities that come up, they don’t take a lot of students because they don’t have the capacity to take that number. Part of bridging that gap, is to make sure that we encourage quality private universities to come on board,’’ he said.
This assertion would say to have been right as the data obtained from the NUC also revealed that the six new universities last year, have the capacity of taking 3000 admission seekers.
However, Eddy Nwankwo, an education specialist disagree with this.
Nwankwo proposed for maintenance and expansion of existing universities in order to increase their carrying capacity. He added that such measures will not only increase the admission quota but willalso help uplift the quality of education in our tertiary institutions