Increase carrying capacity in varsities — Stakeholders

By Dayo Adesulu

THIS Saturday, the more than 1.8 million candidates who registered for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) will jostle for about 850,000 admission spaces. At the end of the admission process, about 850,000 admission seekers will be left out.

Sadly, while the number of UTME candidates increases every year, the Federal Ministry of Education is virtually doing nothing in terms of  upgrading the carrying capacity of the existing universities or building more universities to absorb the backlog of admission applicants. This would have made it impossible for candidates who applied for admission and scored 250, to be denied admission.

Disqualificationof many applicants

As it stands, even if all the candidates score 300 and above, because of the limited spaces, JAMB and various institutions will still have to devise a means to disqualify many applicants.

Statistics reveal that while candidates who registered for the UTME rose from 1.5 million to 1.8 million within three years, admission spaces have remained static. The only increment in admission spaces were derived from the private universities and few state universities. Of course, many students and parents are unwilling to patronise private universities due to its financial implications and other individual considerations.

JAMB’s annual examination data reveals that in the past five years, the average number of candidates that registered for the UTME is 1.5 million, just as the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education combined have 700,000 spaces. Therefore, while the Federal Government considers approval of more universities as a solution to the yearly admission deficits, many stakeholders are urging it to concentrate more on expanding the existing universities and also encourage students to seek other options for tertiary education.

Although, all UTME candidates under Professor Ishaq Oloyede administration have been mandated to choose one college of education, polytechnic and university, however, it is not clear how many admission seekers are willing to settle for polytechnic education. Many who spoke with Vanguard insisted that they would rather study education in the university than in colleges of education.

Perhaps, if the Federal Government removes the disparities between the university and polytechnic graduates, maybe many students will accept the offer, thereby reducing the number of candidates that crave for university education.

Speaking with Vanguard on this issue, the President of Eden Global Business School (EGBS), Mr. Tunji Adepoju, who averred that there is a significant problem with the carrying capacity of tertiary education system. According to him, in the past five years, we have had about 1.7 million students sitting for JAMB, adding, “the carrying capacity of our tertiary education system, including the polytechnics and colleges of education is around 500,000.”

He explained that the innovation enterprise institutions, vocational enterprises, NBT have additional 250,000. All in all the total carrying capacity is about 750, 000, noting “Every year, we have about 1.1 million students actually qualified; they have passed JAMB, met the minimum cut off point, and here we are, the unified carrying capacity is 750,000.

“The polytechnics, colleges of education, federal and state institutions, are about 500, 000. The innovation enterprise is about 250, 000, so we have a shortfall every year of about 500, 000 students that would be qualified and competent but would not get admission.”

Lamenting the fate of the over one million admission seekers, he said that over the years, they have fallen into the hands of crooks and charlatans. Many of them, he added have been deceived by mushroom outfits because they are desperate to get admission. Adepoju said that crooks have capitalized on this to extort gullible students.

Meanwhile, for JAMB examinations on Saturday, candidates have been urged to visit its website and print out their examination slips, as every information they need for the examination is there.

JAMB spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, in a telephone conversation with Vanguard said: “Candidates’ examination centres and the notification about the days of their examination are already posted on our website, let them go to the website, click their profile and print it out.”

Posting on website

He disclosed that the examination which will begin on May 13, will run through 20, adding that candidates who were still expecting JAMB to send information through text messages should go to the website and check the day of their examination.

Benjamin also debunked the insinuations that JAMB has transferred candidates to various states of the country other than the states chosen by applicants during their registration.

According to him, no student has been transferred to other state for examination other than the states chosen by the candidate on the day of registration. “Candidates were allowed to choose the examination town, while JAMB chooses a centre among the centres in a town for the candidate,” he explained.

He maintained that all is now set for the 1.7 million registered candidates to jostle for the over 850,000 admission spaces in the tertiary institutions nationwide.


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