Why law and medicine get most applicants in Nigerian universities
Over the years, the statistics of the candidates who preferably choose some courses labelled as professional ones outnumbered those that are not, in Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). In 2020, the statistics of clinical sciences-related courses were 452,196 where the available quota is 30,111 equivalents to 6.7%. Law-related programs had 103,478 with the available quota of 8,656 approximated to 8.37%. While Educational courses with 97, 264 quota equivalents to 102% but unfortunately had 95, 317 subscribers across the country. Nonetheless, kudos to our Universities who make sure the situation maintains a balanced position. By filling those spaces through changing of the previously selected courses to those ones neglected by the candidates.
And this imbalance is tantamount to preference of University by candidates to either Polytechnic or College of education. Which directly rendered the existence of the latter useless? Between 2016 and 2018, the total percentage of the candidates who chose University in 2016 was 97.78%, college of Education: 1.11%, Polytechnic: 1.10. and in 2018 University had 73.8%, College of education: 13.17%, while Polytechnic had 12.95%. The percentage shown above unveiled the level of such disequilibrium.
However, the identified problem solely sprang up from the Government, Parents, and Nigerian society at large. It is quite unfortunate that we can still carry an aging mentality into our faculty in this 21st century. Even if we are black in colour, it does not mean our thinking should be black. In the olden days even up till now, our only popular African prayer for our children is “you will become a Doctor, You will become a Lawyer”. Because parents themselves know that studying any of those courses is a ticket to acquire a stupendous wealth and also earn reverence from society. Nobody is disputing the fact that we need these people in our society, but in a situation where everybody becomes a Doctor or Lawyer, who will be our clients? We tag only those that read medicine, law, Accountancy, Engineering as professionals perhaps because of the years they spent in school, but not giving regard to other courses. Even anybody that reads Christian religious study, Islamic religious study, or Comparative religious study in school is a professional. Because many years were devoted to reading them. Nobody ever prays that his child should become a Teacher or Farmer. Because most of these people are wretched and yet, they are the backbone of our society.
When we critically explore this ugly situation, we could find that it is the parent that cajole or force their fleece-able children to choose those competitive courses. Even if their children are not qualified all they want is that name that people will tag on them. This violates educational upbringing in the developed countries of the world, for instance in Singapore, there is what they called Gifted Education Program (GEP) after primary school leaving examination (PSLE). That program was set up by the Ministry of education in 1984 to cater for intellectually gifted students. The program aims to develop gifted children to their potential and it places a special higher-order emphasis on thinking and creative thought. Though that program had been in extinction by the end of 2008 it has been replaced by a school-Based Gifted program. Even in Japan, there is what we called (Monbukagakushou 1999) that is, Japanese educational guidelines, stating that; the basic ideal of kindergarten education is to understand the nature of children accordingly. Section 2 states that children learn through play. Such play is their voluntary activity and that such activity creates the foundations for a balance between mind and body. It is during early childhood that children develop their foundations for life upon which all else will be built Prof. Satomi Izumi- Taplor. Since there is nothing like these guidelines in our educational curriculum. What we do is to place our children under unnecessary duress rather than to observe them to see where they fit in.
The government also has a large share of the mess, because it does not make Tertiary education entirely attractive. In the recent Teacher’s day celebration, the Ministry of education promised those undergraduates studying educational courses in both University and College of education the sum # 75,000.00 and #50,000.00 stipend per semester in order to attract and encourage the incoming Jambites to study Educational courses so that we could have more teachers. Even the concerned undergraduates know that the promise has already died on arrival. Making such a move means the government itself is conscious of that age-long problem. It is now left to the stakeholders to change the husky tonality.