Amid claims that less than 30 per cent of candidates that sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) got admitted into the nation’s tertiary institutions every year, about 380,470 slots were not utilised during the 2018 admission year.
Of the over 1.6m candidates who took the examination in 2018, about 1.1m scored the minimum 120 cut-off mark by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) with five credit grades in their Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), including English and mathematics. Of these number, only 583,250 candidates gained admissions into universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, and innovation enterprise institutions (IEIs) in the country.
Data obtained from JAMB showed that 575,687 spaces were available for degree programmes but 442,353 gained admission leaving 23.16 per cent spaces unfilled.
121,968 admission slots were available for candidates into polytechnics but 79,351 were used, thus 34.94 per cent of available spaces were not used.
With 261,790 spaces available in colleges of education, only 60,987 were used leaving 76.7 per cent unused.
For 4,282 slots made available for IEIs, only 559 candidates gained admission leaving 86.95 per cent of slots unutilised.
While about 50 per cent of these candidates were qualified and admitted, 35 per cent were qualified but were not suitable for admissions because of their course choices; seven per cent were qualified and suitable for admissions but declined admission by JAMB while eight per cent of qualified and suitable candidates were not offered admission.
Stakeholders have highlighted reasons why the institutions are not exhausting their admission quota.
They are urging the Federal Government to give priority attention to university education by increasing its allocation to the sub-sector, and address salient factors, including shortage of facilities for teaching and learning; shortage of academic staff; inconsistencies in admission criteria across universities, and limitations in national admissions policy.
They also harped on the need for government to strengthen existing colleges of education and polytechnics by upgrading them to degree-awarding institutions. Besides, they 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.
Vice chancellor, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, said though the institution was allocated 7,000 by the National Universities Commission (NUC), it could only take 3,500 qualified candidates so as not to overstretch its available faculty members and facilities.
According to him, the university can only fill such admission quota if the facilities are improved upon and staff are employed, adding that consideration had to be given to teacher-students’ ratio as required by the NUC.
Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the University of Ibadan (UI), Deji Omole, linked the problem to paucity of funds, insufficient staff and deplorable infrastructure.
“Due to paucity of funds, many universities, including UI cannot admit many qualified candidates into the universities. This is dangerous to the society as the rejected qualified and brilliant candidates may eventually take to crime because the country has rejected them,” he added.(The Guardian)