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How strike, distorted calendar affect universities admission

“I was so full of hope that I will secure admission into university this year after I couldn’t last year due to a shortage of…

“I was so full of hope that I will secure admission into university this year after I couldn’t last year due to a shortage of two points, but it began to look bleak as I am yet to know my fate,” says Adanna Azu, a university admission seeker.

She said she wrote the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) organized by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in 2021 and scored 178 and failed to gain admission because the cut of mark for her required course was 180. So she had to register for the 2022 examination and scored 227.

I was so excited with my score and felt that nothing would stop me. But I am still here and hopeful, though a bit scared because I did not register for the 2023, which is should the admission not go through, she said.”

According to her, University of Abuja, which she chose for admission is still in the process of admissions, which is done department by department but she is yet to get any information on her department.

Though Adanna is still hoping to gain admission, but failure will mean she will miss out next year because she did not register for the next UMTE which is slated for next month.

For Opeyemi Julius, her institution of interest has completed its admission but she was not included despite scoring 226 points. She realized it was late to change to another institution; and her parents had to register her for another JAMB exam.“Honestly I am not happy because having scored over 200 marks I was excited and already seeing myself as a university student but the admission did not come which means another year and more reading. But more annoying is that my mates would have gone ahead of me,” she said.           

Another admission seeker, Precious Emmanuel, who also failed to secure admission after scoring 198 marks, said she has registered for another JAMB but was unhappy not gaining admission.

Precious, who applied for admission at the Federal University, Lafia, said she was told that there were just limited spaces so the institution could not grant admission to all candidates and that they have pending applications from the previous year.

Meanwhile, many university seekers in the 2022 list many not be able to secure admission in their choice universities but try other institutions or wait to write and the 2023 UMTE. Though this is not a fault of theirs but the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

ASUU had gone on strike over the failure of the government to meet their demands in February 2021, at a time many universities had just taken new intakes while some were still in the process of admitting new sets of students.

The strike, which lasted for about eight months, brought the university system to a halt and before it was called off in October 2022 another UTME had taken place and another 1.5 million admission seekers were added to the waiting list.

Daily Trust checks showed that the admission process became a little challenging for some universities, especially those that had pending admission for new students and as a result, some had to merge the two sets due to the issue of space, thus, many of the candidates were left behind.

A staff of the Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State, who does not want to be named, said they were preparing for admission when ASUU went on the prolonged strike.

“We have a pending admission list which was ready for release but before the due time ASUU went on strike and when they called off, another set of candidates had written for admission. So because of the required carrying capacity of the university, what we did was to get some percentage of the new ones and add to the old list,” she said.

The source also said they couldn’t admit all the candidates and that some were given different courses where there is space.

While noting that many who had the opportunity may have to go for a change of institution to secure admission or wait for next year, she said many students will have to miss admission for no fault of theirs.

How varsities faired

Daily Trust checked to see how some universities faired in the current admission process considering that another intake examination will commence on April 29, 2023.

The Head of Information and University Relation of the University of Abuja, Dr Habib Yakub, confirmed that the admission process is still ongoing and students are being admitted.

Speaking on the delay, he noted that it’s an emergency case because there were the COVID-19 and strike, adding that the whole calendar had been distorted and the University of Abuja is still trying to see how to regularise it. He added that “shortly after, the students have to go home for one month for elections.”

Though, he can’t say when the admission process will be rounded off, students are currently being admitted.

For the University of Ibadan, it is said to operate a very transparent admission system based on merit. Basically, the admission committee sets a JAMB cutoff mark depending on the general performance of students in the JAMB exam. Then, the scores of students in UI’s post-UTME is added to the student’s JAMB score to get an aggregate score set by each faculty.

The aggregate score determines the admission chances of students.

The UI admission officer, Dr Morounfolu Oyebola, also stated that the ASUU strike affected both the on-campus students and the prospective students. According to her, UI is presently in the second semester of a session that ought to have ended last year; 2022.

She said: “This session would be ending by July this year and a new session will commence by God’s grace in August. For those that wrote JAMB last year, the University of Ibadan had her post-UTME in February and the results had been sent out to students. At the moment, the university is processing the admission for these candidates. By inference, those that did last year’s JAMB would be admitted; and will enter the university by August this year.

“So they are the admissions that we are processing at the moment. Therefore, university of Ibadan does not have a backlog of candidates to come in.”

She further said that students intending to write JAMB next month will also be admitted. S“For those that picked the University of Ibadan, they will be coming on board next year by the special grace of God. So at the moment, the University of Ibadan does not have any backlog of admissions. We are working according to the calendar of the university, and based on the influence; the effect of the eight months strike.”

According to her, of the about 5,300 that passed the post-UTME and UI they will admit based on the quota capacity for each of the departments and that the total number of students to be admitted should be around 4,000  to 4,300.

For Bayero University Kano (BUK), the Head of Directorate of Public Affairs, Lamara Garba, said the institution has no pending admission despite the ASUU strike as they were able to do joint admissions for two sets last year.

He said the university was able to achieve that because it gave combined admission to 2020 and 2021 applicants last year, thereby removing the bottleneck of relegating a whole application year.

He said, “In 2020, when COVID-19 pandemic obstructed academic activities for almost a whole session and in 2021 when ASUU embarked on strike, we gave a combined admission for the two sessions’ applicants.

“Usually, JAMB recommends an average of 7,000 to 10,000 admission slots every session to BUK. But, due to facilities challenges, we are able to admit about 60 to 70 per cent of the two sessions. So we have no outstanding admission for now.”

According to him, the admission was for both UTME and Direct Entry applicants, saying, “Even that of 2022 has already been completed after the strike. We are only waiting for the commencement of the new session to release it.”

He said the university has already started printing admission letters for the 2022 UTME applicants.

For the University of Port Harcourt, the management said the strike embarked upon by ASUU did not affect its JAMB admission process.

The public relations officer of the university, Dr. Sam Kpenu, said even though ASUU embarked on strike, the admission process of the university was not affected because the management swung into action soon after the strike was called off.

“We are not in any way affected by the strike. Soon after the strike was called off, we proceeded with all the processes of admissions for the new intakes.

“Our students were admitted through all the admission processes and as we speak now the students have completed all the processes required and are attending lectures,” he said

Expert’s take

An educationist, Michael Ojonugwa, said the process of admission to universities has been distorted and calls for urgent regularization.

He said: “Admissions are supposed to be done at the same time across the university system following the calendar and if there should be any difference it should be insignificant, not as obvious as we have now.

“You see, some students who wrote JAMB last year are almost done with the first year while some are yet to be admitted, this shows there is something wrong with the whole system.”

According to him, by implication of the last ASUU strike, many students are likely to be cut off in the admission because of the issue of carrying capacity and you cannot blame the universities nor the students, but somehow, the parents and students have to bear the brunt by registering and writing another JAMB.

 “The NUC and Federal Ministry of Education had to do something to regularise the school calendar if not, many will continue to be at the disadvantage,” he said.  


By Chidimma C. Okeke, Adenike Kaffi  (Ibadan), Sani Ibrahim Paki (Kano) & Victor Edozie (Port Harcourt)

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