It seems easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for secondary school leavers to gain admission into higher institutions in Nigeria. It is no longer news that there is admission problem in Nigeria for secondary school leavers who want to further their educational career to higher institutions of learning such as Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. According to Vanguard newspaper dated 3rd May, 2018, “No fewer than one million students seeking admission through the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, every year failed to get slots in tertiary institutions in Nigeria as the system cannot admit more than 600,000 in any given year”.
If we compare the number of students who write UTME every year, it will be clear to everyone that there is a serious problem. In 2013, 1,629,102 registered for UTME, in 2014, it was 1,606,753 and 1,000,400; 1,589,175; 1,722,235; 1,653,127; registered in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively. More so, over 1.2million candidates also registered in 2019. With this data, it is very clear that there is serious problem of tertiary institution admission in Nigeria. What then are the causes of this problem and what is the way out?
1. JAMB/UTME challenge: it is quite unfortunate that Nigerian youth have been made to accept that JAMB/UTME is the only means through which students can gain admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This is not true as there are different means through which students can gain admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. For instance, a student who does a Diploma programme can use the diploma result to seek admission to university without using UTME.
2. NUC Policies: The policies of the National Universities Commission especially to the establishment of private universities are not encouraging at all. Imagine someone who decides to establish a private universities with the aim of reducing admission problem in Nigeria and is being told to get 100hectares of land(1500acres). The money to be spent to get such piece of land can still be managed to get a reasonable size of land and still build some structures on it. This problem is not peculiar with universities only but other higher institutions of learning.
3. Insufficient tertiary institutions in Nigeria: Considering the number of students who finish secondary school every year in Nigeria, and the number that the available tertiary institutions can admit (both public and private), we can conclude that if there are more, then it will create space for more students to gain admission. Presently, there are 170 universities, 132 polytechnics and 152 colleges of education; both public and private but the challenge is that all this cannot admit more than 600,000 students per year due to infrastructure available. Even if infrastructures are put in place, they still cannot cater for the students who finish secondary school education per year. More so, as a result of the stringent NUC policies, establishment of private universities in Nigeria is difficult which is making the available ones to be heavily congested.
4. Insufficient infrastructure, teaching and learning tools in the schools: One major complaint of all these existing higher institutions of learning in Nigeria is lack of adequate infrastructure, human resource especially academics and learning tools. For instance, I have been to a school where more than one thousand students sit in a lecture hall with the capacity of just 800 to receive lecture even without a good public address system. In a nut shell, there is problem of insufficient lecture rooms and seat, public address system and other teaching/learning tools.
5. Students’ unserious attitude to their studies: it is quite unfortunate that students of nowadays prefer to use machinery for their examinations than take their time to study. Little wonder when they go for post UTME screening, majority fail woefully. A lot of students prefer to use their time on social media than for their studies. It’s one thing for a student to be able to pass his/her Secondary School Leaving Examination and UTME, it’s another thing for them to pass their post UTME screening.
1. More tertiary institutions should be built
2. Existing institutions should be provided with necessary human and material infrastructure
3. NUC and other bodies in charge of establishment of tertiary institutions should review their policies
4. Students should be educated on other means of acquiring higher education other than the “ALMIGHTY JAMB”
5. Students should more reasonable seriousness to their studies