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2.1m Successful Candidates To Miss Varsity Admission

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About 2.113 million candidates who scored above the 160 cut-off point of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) will miss admission into the 170 accredited Nigerian universities due to lack of space in the institutions.

LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt that the nation’s universities with a yearly carrying capacity of two million students, cannot accommodate the over 4.113 million candidates who scored above the 160 general cut-off marks in the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

In a statement issued by the National Universities Commission (NUC), the executive secretary, Prof. Adamu Rasheed, said that only about two million candidates can access university education in Nigeria.

Rasheed stated this during a workshop with vice chancellors of private universities in Abuja recently.

LEADERSHIP Weekend, however, gathered that though there are other hundreds of universities in Nigeria, not all of them are accredited by the NUC.

At present, the total list of NUC accredited universities in Nigeria are exactly 170 as gathered from the official website of the commission.

Information obtained from NUC’s latest monthly publication indicated that of the 170 universities in the country, 43 are federal, 48 states and 79 are privately-owned.

NUC recently disclosed that it was processing over 303 applications for the establishment of private universities, of which about 208 were in the first stage of requirement for getting their universities registered.

But with the insufficient spaces in the universities compared with the number of candidates seeking for admission yearly, 2.113million candidates are set to lose out in this year’s exercise.

JAMB is charged with the responsibility of monitoring admissions into the nation’s tertiary institutions taking into cognisance the various institutions’ operational capacity, cut-off marks and other requirements.

This is to ensure quality control and facilitate equity and fairness in the admission process. An example is a case of the just-concluded 2019 UTME which has Master Ezeunala Ekene Franklin, a 15-year-old who scored 347 to emerge as the highest scorer.

Ezeunala picked the University of Lagos (UNILAG) as his first choice. Coincidentally, the university only admits candidates who are 16 years and above. This is their rule and it is expected that candidates and the public abide by it.

Universities all over the world define their own rules on admissions, the kind of candidates they desire to admit and other requirements that would enable them give their best to the public.

JAMB in its recent bulleting said that the foregoing was necessary in order to set the record straight, especially as it pertains to the case of Mater Ezeunala. The requirement for admission does not originate from the board but UNILAG as was the case of Ezeunala.

According to JAMB spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, globally, universities are empowered by their Senate to define their admission requirements which include age and others.

“The board should not be blamed for the age stipulation as it is stated explicitly in its integrated Brochure and Syllable System (BASS) which are instructional materials on syllabus and requirements for admission. The responsibility of reading the instructions contained therein should not be that of the board but of the candidates and the public,” he said.

It was gathered that the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS) was being used as vehicle for all admissions since its introduction during 2017/2018 admissions exercise after a series of engagements with stakeholders.

“The 2018/2019 wasn’t an exception either. In the CAPS process, the institution’s admission officer proposed the candidates, the head of institution recommends the candidates, which is then approved by the JAMB desk officer. No admission can be initiated from JAMB; it must come from the institutions,” he said.

“JAMB urged institutions to ensure that admission periods are sacrosanct and must be followed and adhered to. At the end of the 1st choice period, all candidates not admitted would be pulled out of the institutions’ platform on CAPS and be made available to other willing institutions. Any candidate who has chosen an institution as 2nd, 3rd and 4th choice does not need any change of choice or payment to JAMB to be considered for admission during the period of the 2nd choice admission,” he added.

The 2019 UTME Performance Statistics showed that those who scored 200 and above are 427,156. 190 and above are 588,038; 180 and above are 788,817, 170 and above are, 1,026,242 and 160 and above are 1,283,259 which sum-up the candidates scrambling for admission into the universities in Nigeria to be 4.113million with only about two million to be taken.

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