With the industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, entering its fifth month, some public universities in the country may consider cancelling an academic session and merging 2021 and 2022 admission exercises. Also, investigation by Vanguard showed that more candidates did well in this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, than last year. Checks across some universities also showed that most of them are waiting for the industrial actions by various staff unions to be called off before deciding the next line of action. The situation may make admission into public universities a serious battle for applicants this year.
How strike may affect session/admission Recall that during the COVID-19 lockdown and the nine-month strike by ASUU in 2020, the University of Ibadan had to cancel an academic session, while the University of Lagos merged the 2020 and 2021 admissions. Checks by Vanguard showed that at the University of Jos, for instance, the university has a backlog of admissions for the 2021/2022 session yet to be cleared. The Deputy Registrar, Information and Publications, Office of the Vice Chancellor, Mr. Abdullahi Abdullahi, confirmed the development. His words, “We have a peculiar case, we have the COVID-19, the crisis in Jos, and the ASUU strike.”
He, however, said it is until the strike is called off that the management would meet and decide what the next line of action would be. Director of Public Communications, Office of the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Mr Tunji Oladepo, said the 2021/2022 academic session was on before the strike started, adding that everything would be clear when the university reopens for academic activities.
According to the Public Relations Officer, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, the management is yet to decide what to do and that the decision would be taken after the strike is put on hold. “I cannot speculate whether the school will cancel a session or not, but what I am sure of is that we will see through the current session that was ongoing before the commencement of the strike. When we resume, the school will take the right decision”. Expressing similar sentiment, the Head of Media, UNILAG, Mrs Abimbola Ojo, said whatever is going to be the next step is dependent on the management and would come when all industrial actions are called off. Though President Muhammadu Buhari recently gave the instruction that the face-off between the government and ASUU and other unions be quickly resolved, indications are that it may still be a long way to go.
The report of the Prof. Nimi Briggs-led committee set up by the government to renegotiate the 2009 Agreement was set aside by the government which is yet to come out with what it can offer the striking workers. The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, is poised to organise a two-day solidarity rally in support of ASUU and the National Executive Council of ASUU has fixed August 1 this year for its meeting. Unless the government comes out with its offers that ASUU would see as acceptable this week, the NEC meeting would not have anything positive to consider and the strike may continue. Candidates’ performance in UTME A comparison of applicants’ performance in 2021 UTME and that of 2022 showed a significant improvement in performance, while about 600,000 spaces are to be filled.
The development made the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, to up the minimum cut off points from 120 marks for universities and 100 marks for polytechnics and colleges of education in 2021 to 140 and 100 this year respectively. In the 2021 UTME, out of the 1, 428,209 candidates that wrote the exam, only 168,163 scored 200 marks and above compared to 378,639 of the 1,761,338 who wrote the 2022 UTME. In 2021 UTME, 236,936 scored 190 and above, while 520,596 did so this year and 327,624 got 180 and above last year and 704,991 scored that this year For 170 plus marks, 445,594 scored that last year and 934,103 scored this in 2022, while 595,015 scored 160 plus last year and 1,192, 057 did so this year among others.
Even the three top candidares last year – Momwuba Chibuzo, 358, Nurudeen Abdulwasiu Alabi, 350, and Adeogun Kehinde Oreoluwa 350, did not match this year’s top performers – Adebayo Eyimofe, 362 points, Ugwu Chikelu, 359 points. Igbalaye Ebunoluwa 357; Emmanuel Oluwanifemi 357; Ozumba Samuel 357; Olumide-Attah Ayomide 355; Lawal Olaoluwa 355; Dokun Jubril 354; Amaku Anthony 354 and Aghulor Divine 353 points. While the number of applicants admitted through the 2021 UTME has not been made available by the authorities concerned, the 2020 figures showed that of the 2, 065, 131 candidates that took the exam, only 551, 553 were admitted. Universities that were given 601,775 slots only admitted 422,453, colleges of education with total quota of 235,240 admitted only 47,912 and polytechnics that had 114,924 spaces admitted 79,931. (Sunday Vanguard)