JAMB forms for rejected admission slots cost Nigerian students N1.6bn

Prospective Nigerian students have failed to take up 721,888 admission slots into universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education amounting to a combined cost of N1.6 billion on entrance examination forms, BusinessDay analysis shows.

In the last Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UMTE) admission and the admission process conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, (JAMB), 179,330 admission spaces lay fallow at the end of August.

The federal, state and private universities were given a total of 601, 775 spaces to fill but have so far filled 422,453 spaces. While for the polytechnics a total of 115,243 spaces were allotted but 79,891 were filled, and the colleges of education had 235,240 admission slots on offer but got 47, 920 used leaving a gap of 187,320 unused.

The JAMB sold UTME forms for N3, 500 and an added N500 for online registration cost, amounting to N4, 000 for each form. When the total cost per form is multiplied by 721, 888 the product is N1.6bn.

Experts say a lack of interest in some courses offered to them and parental pressure to study a particular discipline have accounted for why the courses are rejected.

Friday Ehrabor, public affairs analyst said ignorance plays a role, too.

“I was also a victim of it. I was offered political science in 1989 and I rejected it because I wanted mass communication and of course I got mass communication in 1990. But with the benefit of hindsight, there is nothing I am doing today that a political science graduate who is properly informed cannot do”, he said.

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Ehrabor said it is quite understandable if someone who intends to study law is offered English and he turns it down, but if a student wants to be an accountant and he is offered banking and finance, why would he want to turn it down when he can still have his banking and finance degree and end up a chartered accountant through professional examinations.

According to JAMB data, students who applied for medicine, pharmacy, health sciences were 452,196 last year but only 36,821 students were offered admission, though the available spaces were 43,717.

Isaiah Ogundele, a teacher said economic challenges play a key role in some decisions to reject admission offers.

However, university authorities have their own reasons why they offer students courses they did not apply for.

Kunle Akogun, director of corporate affairs, University of Ilorin, said such students probably did not meet the requirements for the courses they applied for or were oversubscribed.

Akogun said some courses are traditionally shunned by admission seekers, and such courses cannot be scrapped by the institutions.

Hence, some candidates who fail to secure admission into their desired courses are invariably ‘distributed’ to such departments.

For Temitope Olowu, a teacher, some of the reasons could be that the facilities available would not be adequate for the number of applicants. Moreover, he stated if the courses chosen did not have enough applicants, they may offer them a different course.

Olowu said the solution to the problem is not one size fits all. “The education sector has been the pot of soup for politicians. Money allocated, but little is done”.

On the side of university education, he suggested some solutions such as adequate funding to expand the facilities in order to accommodate more students. He also advocated that governments should establish more universities to cater to the population growth rate.

Meanwhile, Olowu called on all tertiary institutions to get their courses accredited. “Tertiary institutions should get accreditation for more courses because if these courses are available in most universities, the pressure would be minimal”, he said.

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