gExperts in the education sector have advised university
admission seekers not to wait forever, writes
Waiting endlessly for the opportunity to gain admission
into a university is a huge burden for me, especially
when my Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination
score is low,” these were the words of 19-year-old Vivian
Shonibare who has been waiting for two years to gain
admission into the University of Lagos.
Two years may sound few to 25-year-old Emeka
Chidiebere who has been waiting for five years.
He said, “ In the last UTME I took, my score was not
beyond170. The authorities of the university I applied to
pegged the cut-off point at 230. I have been sitting at
home for five years.”
Funke Odusanya, 17, has sat for UTME once, but she is
already getting bored sitting at home. She hopes to gain
admission into the Lagos State University someday.
“I took the UTME but I didn’t do well. I hope to save
some more money to sit for the next UTME. Before then,
I will be praying and fasting. LASU is my choice, I don’t
see myself going to another university,” she said.
Over the years, the percentage of candidates that fail the
UTME is alarming. In 2010, over 1.3 million candidates
sat for UTME, but only 501,000 candidates scored 200 and
above, leaving 59 per cent with scores less than 200. And
in 2011, out of the 1,493,604 candidates that took the
examination, 842,851 scored below 200 points.
The following year, in 2012, 1,503,931 candidates took the
UTME, 711,250 scored below 200 points.
In 2013 a total of 1,644,110 candidates took the UTME out
of which 1,629,102 applied to sit for the Paper Pencil Test,
while 15,008 candidates applied for the Dual Based Test.
About 571,298 scored between 170 and 199, 103,489
scored between 160 and 169 while 127,017 scored less
In the 2014 edition of the UTME taken by 1,015,504
candidates, only 24 of them scored 250 points and above;
315,401 candidates scored between 170 to 199 points,
while 108,488 scored between 200 to 249 points. In the
same examination, 275, 282 candidates scored below 150
points. The pass mark for university admission in 2013
and 2014 was 180 points.
In 2014, 8, 844 candidates, who scored above 200 points,
sat for the University of Ibadan post-UTME, 6,267 of them
scored above 50 per cent while, 2,351 failed.
Source- Sunday punch: http://www.punchng.com/education/finding-
number of 226 candidates did not show up for the
examination, while the lowest score was 12 per cent.
According to the statistics of the result, the most
subscribed discipline in the university’s post-UTME is
Medicine with 1,965 candidates. Of the number, 1,701
scored above 50 per cent.
Every year, many of those who take the UTME do not
gain admission into their preferred institutions. What
happens to these people?
Experts who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH said people
like Shonibare, Chidebere and Odusanya do not have to
sit at home idle but should seek alternatives.
The Director, School of Professional and Legal Education,
Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Prof.
Gabriel Agwu said the emphasis on paper education has
negatively affected students in general.
He said, “ There are many UTME candidates who have
been waiting four to eight years to gain admission into a
university. This is terrible and it shouldn’t be. Everyone
cannot be a university graduate. There are so many ways
one can explore to receive a good education.
“My advice to students is that they should quit sitting at
home and gain a skill or learn a vocation. They could also
look towards technical education. In Nigeria, this area of
our education system has suffered. Students think
technical education is for the poor, and that is a sad
notion. I know of people who have become successful
and didn’t go to a university.”
Gabriel also cited the founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, as
someone to emulate, “He dropped out of school yet he is
extremely successful today. This shows that it is not a
must that one must go to a university before making it in
He, however, charged the media to feature people in the
society who became successful through a craft. He said
such approach would go a long way in encouraging
Sharing a similar thought, the Head, Educational
Psychology, Emmanuel Alayande College of Education,
Oyo State, Dr. Sola Adediran, said the current generation
of youths have other opportunities at their finger tips,
but very little of them make use of them.
According to Adediran, “If one can’t gain entry into a
university, one can apply to a polytechnic, college of
education, training college and so on. The list is endless;
there are so many solutions or alternatives to this
A cloth designer, Ebun Collins, who sais she established
her business at a young age, added that she learnt the
skill while in the university.
She said, “Right from when I was a young girl, I loved to
sew. When I got to the university, I decided to learn the
skill. Today, I thank God that I’m successful and doing
what I love. If I didn’t make the decision to learn how to
sew, I won’t be where I am today.”
According to educationists, places in polytechnics and
colleges of education are usually under-subscribed. This
is because a large percentage of candidates want to go to
Adediran said, “Also there are a good number of
universities that are not attracting patronage and are
advertising in newspapers for students to come for
admission. Admission seekers could look in that
direction. Even the popular universities that everyone
wants to go experience insufficiency and they usually
screen to pick the best candidates.
“Many candidates are chasing very few spaces in some
preferred universities yet only a very small proportion of
candidates who take the UTME will likely be admitted.
“We all need to be self-reliant, Nigeria’s economy can
sometimes not be encouraging and to be secure, one
needs to have the knowledge of a vocation that will fetch
one extra income,” Adediran said.
The educational psychologist also cited A-level, school of
nursing, among others as good alternatives.
“There was a point in my life I was trying to gain
admission into a university of my choice, but it wasn’t
forthcoming. I decided to take A-level and today, I’m glad
I made that choice. Every knowledge matters. What one
learns today may be useful tomorrow. The bottom-line is
that admission seekers should think out of the box and
not be rigid. I encourage them to read newspapers. There
is so much useful information in them,” he said.
Also, Dr. Suleiman Adediran, an education consultant
and a former lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo
University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, urged admission seekers to
remain positive, adding that feeling frustrated about
admission could be detrimental to the well-being of the
He said, “Sitting at home, feeling frustrated would not
help one; instead one should think of ways to add value
to one’s life. Learn a skill. Ladies could learn how to sew
or make hair. These skills may sound unimportant, but
millions of people are making money with them.”
Adediran added that getting formal education is not a
guarantee that one would be successful in life. “I
encourage students who have already secured admission
into a university,to learn a craft. It is never a waste of
time,” he said.
Aside learning a craft, Adediran also urged admission
seekers to enrol for a course. He said a large percentage
of these courses usually help in future.
“New educational technology has revolutionised the way
students get their college degrees. Instead of waiting for
years to gain admission into one a university, admission
seekers couldpursue online degrees. Moreover, this
option gives students the opportunity to work full time.
They can also customise their degree programmes to suit
Buttressing the need for admission seekers to consider
online courses, he added that besides location, time
could also be a limitation to learning.
Other educationists who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH
suggested foreign education, especially for students who
are financially capable.