Even if only a third of those who sat for today’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) meet the cut off marks of the various tertiary institutions they have chosen to pursue their educational careers, not all of them would be considered for admission.
This is because the total capacity of all the tertiary institutions in Nigeria to absorb fresh undergraduates is only 520,000. Meanwhile the number of candidates who sat for the examination today was put at 1,735,72.
This rather sad news was broadcasted by Professor Ruqqayatu Rufai, Nigeria’s Minister of Education , who addressed journalists after monitoring the conduct of the examination today in Suleja, Niger state.
According to her, the existing universities across the country have limited access for the overall number of candidates that registered for UTME this year.
She said that government in her determination to create access to university education has established 12 new federal universities.
Her words ” But the major concern that we have and that is why we are also calling for opening of access even though we have to have access that would commensurate with the quality that the country like Nigeria having 1.7million candidates that are sitting for today’s examination and that of May for the computer based.
We have 1.7million candidates that have registered to go into our tertiary institutions including our universities and the space that we have is barely 520,000 for federal, states tertiary institutions including polytechnics, colleges of education and private universities.
“So out of 1.7million candidates, the space that we have in the entire nation is 520,000, so assuming that we have 1.7million that have sat for the examination and we have only 520,000 what is this figure compared to the 1.2million, so assuming that only 700,000 or 1million passed the exam which is about 50 per cent what are we going to do with the rest?”, she queried.
“We will not expand our carrying capacity simply to accommodate these students without the commensurate expansion of our facilities: facilities as at today are basically for 520,000 students and that is why we are calling for improvement in access, we are calling for more public private partnership,” she announced.
Reporter: Akin Akande, Abuja