By Martin Paul Abuja
Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has admitted a paltry 1.9 million students from the over 12 million that sat for the matriculation examination in the last nine years (2007 to 2015), statistics have shown. Blueprint investigations revealed that over 12 million candidates applied for admissions into the universities in the country within the period under review. Our fi ndings revealed that between 2007 and 2010, no fewer than 4,943,966 candidates applied, while between 2011 and 2012, over 3,028,395 candidates indicated intentions, whereas records of application from 2013 to 2015 could not be obtained as at time of going to press. In 2007, a total of 132, 201 candidates were admitted from the 1,029,510 who applied for placement, while in 2008, of the 1, 1 74, 935 candidates, only 159, 170 got admitted. In the year 2009, while 1, 306, 193 candidates entered for the examination, JAMB said only 190, 868 of them were admitted.
Similarly, in 2010, no fewer than 1,433, 268 applicants entered for the Unifi ed Tertiary Matriculation Examination, but 192, 255 candidates were considered for admission. In 2011, while 1,575,522 applied to take part in the examination, JAMB statistics showed that only 28,809 candidates were admitted, and this is in contrast to the 417,341, being number of the successful candidates as provided by the National Bureau of Statistics. In 2012, the Board gave fi gures of those admitted as 16, 437, while 1,452,873 applied, and in 2013, application could not be obtained, but all the same, 571, 011 were admitted according to the NBS. As the records of application for 2014 could not be obtained, records showed that 275, 115 candidates were admitted, while 353, 697 candidates were admitted in 2015. Lagos ranks highest A state by state analysis further revealed that in 2007, Lagos had the highest number of 23,940 students admitted into universities across the country, followed by Rivers state with 8,360 and Anambra 5,679 students. In the year 2008, while Imo state recorded the highest number of 107, 667 applicants, only 6,436 of its candidates were admitted, while Nasarawa state with 16,233 applications had 1,484 of its candidates admitted. In 2009, a total of 1,306,791 applications were received nationwide, but a paltry 190,868 students secured admissions into universities, with Imo state topping the list with 13,405 successful applicants. FCT with least admission
Th e Federal Capital Territory (FCT) recorded the least admission of 414, followed by Jigawa with 547, Zamfara 585, Yobe 629, Borno 952 and Gombe 1, 353 admissions in 2009 academic session. In year 2010, JAMB received 1, 433,268 applications. But according to its statistics, 297,294 candidates were admitted into universities alone. Statistics again showed Imo recorded the highest number of 115,556 applicants, followed by Delta with 91,978, Anambra 87,874, Osun 76,891, Ogun 74,799 and Oyo 71,185 candidates. A total number of students admitted into universities for 2010 stood at 297, 294 with Imo, again leading with 15,532, followed by Anambra 12,427, while Ogun had its 11,990 students admitted, Edo came next with 10,289 and Delta getting 10,000 admissions. In 2011, the Board had 27,016 candidates admitted into universities from the 1,575,522 candidates who applied for admissions for that year. As in other years, the highest applications of 118,633 came from Imo state, followed by Delta with 100,080, Anambra 90,910, whereas Osun had 78,790 and Oyo state 74,560.
Th e 2011 admissions showed that of the total number, only Lagos had the highest of 3, 943 students admitted, followed by Kano with 2,153, Kaduna, 1,836 and Plateau 1,360 admissions. In 2012, JAMB received 1,452,873 applications and admitted only 16,437, the fi gure that is a far cry from what applied the previous years, with Imo state again having the highest number of 123,355 requests, but recorded only 997 admissions, while Delta with 88,566 entries had only 490 of its applicants successful. Th is same year, the Board also received entries from countries like Cotonou, 21, London 23, Jeddah eight and 84 from other countries, but our reporter could not get the statistics of successful applicants. Other available, but unconfi rmed records showed that in 2013, the board admitted 571,011 students, 275, 115 for 2014 and 353,697 students in 2015. Experts comment Reacting to the abysmal number of candidates admitted in the past 10 years, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Abuja chapter, Dr. Ben Ugheoke, listed factors hindering low admission rates. Some of these, according to him, include; the carrying capacity, limited space, inadequate infrastructure, non availability of human resources, support staff , and inadequate number of lecturers, among factors contributing to the low percentage of admission. “Th ere is a saying that many are called, but few are chosen. So, many candidates want to be admitted into the university without recourse to whether they are university materials, leaving the polytechnic and colleges of education institutions empty.
“It is also not the fault of universities because the National Universities Commission (NUC) set the standards while JAMB admits based on the capacity and available resources”, he said. Ugheoke further said, though the number of universities in the country was not suffi cient to cater for admission needs of candidates, but said there was need for an organic way of absorbing candidates into the schooling system. “We should fi nd a way of training these youths to go out there and pick a job after their education and fi t into the market system. In order word, government should expand the industrial sector.” In his reaction, a human rights lawyer, Chukwuemeka Ifeanyi, however, blamed the low percentage of admission on government’s inability to expand the university along with the demands of candidates.
“Since the population of the country is growing, demands are also rising in virtually every aspect of our lives, so there is need for government to establish more universities and expand the existing ones,” he said. He said it was disheartening that as less as 250,000 of the over one million candidates are admitted each year, lamenting that the consequence had been high rates of armed robbery and prostitution among youths in the country. “Recently, I read somewhere that some Nigerian parents are sending their children to study in Ghana universities which are lower than those in Nigeria. Th e question is where would you keep those not admitted, when another batch is coming up every year?” Similarly, the Chairman, Exam Marshall International, Chief Ike Onyechere, described the situation as “pathetic,” noting that there was nothing JAMB could do since many parents want their children to go to the universities.
He said: “Th e problem is that JAMB examination is for all comers- those who are qualifi ed and those, who are not. You fi nd out that even market women also sit for the examination because they want to go to the university. “Another point is that not up to 30 per cent of the number of candidates have the requisite qualifi cation, including English Language and Mathematics, so I think there should a mechanism of checking this anomalies, except where the Board is believing that the more the candidates, the more the revenue.”