University admissions: Nigerians want 25-year-old quota policy scrapped – Newstrends
Connect with us

News

University admissions: Nigerians want 25-year-old quota policy scrapped

Published

on

  • ‘Policy attacks excellence, celebrates mediocrity’
  • Bayero lecturers defend policy, blame northern leaders

 

Academics, among other Nigerians, have called for urgent review or scrapping of the nation’s quota policy in varsity admissions to promote equity and national development.

In a bid to ensure uniform development of the country’s educational sector, the Federal Government, 25 years ago, formulated a policy of granting preference to candidates seeking admission into universities across the country, from states considered to be educationally disadvantaged at the time.

Still justifying the policy in the context of today’s Nigeria, Head of Information at the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Dr. Fabian Benjamin, said the policy was designed to unite the nation by giving everybody from every state of the country, an opportunity to be educated and have a sense of belonging “because every Nigerian is a stakeholder in the polity.”

But former vice-chancellors, Femi Mimiko, Ayodeji Olukoju, Prof Adebayo Adeyemi; the Head, Department of Educational Foundation, University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Ngozi Osarenren and Senior legal and Programme Officer, Human Right Law Services (HURILAW) Collins Okeke noted that the policy had been overtaken by 25 years’ events. They argued that quota system in university admissions has been misapplied and should, therefore, be discarded.

Benjamin said the policy, which favours the educationally disadvantaged states will have to continue, because the gap it was intended to close has not yet totally been bridged.

He explained that giving peference to candidates from these states goes beyond merely giving admission to students.

He said the policy was introduced in the 1970s after the Nigerian civil war. “There was mutual suspicion among the ethnic groups and government was looking for a platform to unite the people. JAMB became one of these platforms that could bring the various ethnic groups to form a nation. The policy was designed to accommodate this interest.”

Guided by the policy, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Jigawa, Zamfara, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Gombe, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and Yobe were categorised as educationally disadvantaged states; while Ogun, Lagos, Osun, Ondo, Ekiti, Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Delta, Imo, Akwa-Ibom and Edo states were grouped as educationally developed states.

But stakeholders wondered why, 25 years after the enactment and execution of the policy, states like Cross River, Rivers and Kano with several tertiary institutions, would still be classified as educationally less advantaged.

In the policy, merit is given 45 per cent. This covers all candidates from the country; it gives automatic admission once you meet the cut-off mark. The second is catchment, which is 35 per cent; while the third factor is educationally less advantaged states, which is 20 per cent.

Stakeholders also demand an end to the policy, which they argued, deny candidates who merit admission, the opportunity to gain access into higher institutions of their choice.

Okeke, Huriwa boss, said the policy had outlived its usefulness, describing it as discriminatory, encouraging mediocrity and discouraging excellence.

“Instead of the quota system, there should be incentives for states that do well educationally to encourage them and ginger others to perform better while teachers can be taken from the south and pay more so that they can complement their northern counterparts and effectively impart knowledge. Quota system creates a mediocre kind of educational system,” he said.

Mimiko, erstwhile vice chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba (AAUA), said while there was nothing wrong with the policy, it should be implemented in such a way that it would not undermine merit.

Mimiko, a professor of political science at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ife lamented that the quota system had been implemented in such a way that calls to question the nation-building objective of the country.

He said, “The quota system is supposed to be a stop-gap measure; use it to bring up the disadvantaged and thereafter put a stop to it, and start treating everyone on the same standards.”

He added that the space for the quota system must be a “very small” percentage of the spaces available and that in the listing of those to be accorded space through a quota system, the spaces should still go to the best in such groups. He further suggested that the quota system should be implemented in such a way that it would not give the slightest hint that it was meant to reward “lazy ones.”

To address the lopsidedness, Mimiko called on governments in areas considered educationally-disadvantaged to invest in the sector.

Prof. Adeyemi, former vice chancellor of Bells University of Technology, Ota, lamented that the quota system had been misapplied. To address the problem, he advocated a national cut-off point for prospective students.

“I could recollect my serving as admissions chairman (officer) for the Faculty of Technology at the OAU between 1986 and 1991; admissions were based on the quota system. At that time, I think it was based on the following parameters; merit (40%), catchment (30%), educationally disadvantaged states (20%) and discretion (10%).

“Pass mark at that time was 200 to gain admission into Nigerian universities. At no time did we go below the minimum pass mark regardless of the group a candidate belonged to.”

While describing the intention of the quota system as noble, Olukoju lamented that beneficiaries had taken what ordinarily should be a privilege as a right.

He said the quota system had outlived its usefulness and should be phased out.

According to him, the system is giving undue advantage to some people, promoting complacency and mediocrity on the part of the beneficiaries.

Olukoju, who is of the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, said the policy was intended as a stop-gap but the beneficiaries, who are also in command of federal power, retained it to their own advantage, even as their educational status has improved over time.

“It is time to ask governors of the so-called disadvantaged states to account for their budgetary allocation to the education sector in their states. The affirmative action has been abused by its beneficiaries, who have worn it as a badge of honour. Every policy has a life span and this one has become obsolete. It was supposed to encourage the backward states to lift themselves up by their bootstraps but it has unfairly rewarded and reinforced mediocrity and an entitlement mentality.

For Osarenren, if students, regardless of their states, were given sound knowledge; they would effectively compete among themselves.

The scholar noted that the admission policy had only succeeded in sowing a seed of discord between parents and children from different regions.

“Every child must be treated well, if you admit a child with a lower score, how would such a child compete equally with others? The disparity in the admission system showed that government is merely paying lip service to qualitative education.

Also, a former chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ilorin chapter, Dr. Usman Raheem, says the quota system has outlived its relevance.

Raheem, in a chat with The Guardian in Ilorin, argued that the quota system for admission should be jettisoned and should revert to merit.

The ex-ASUU boss, who is a lecturer at the Department of Geography and Environmental Management of the institution, added that the system had failed to solve the problem of imbalance in the nation’s social strata.

He compared the system to a situation where the most qualified elder brother for a post was being asked to step down for the least qualified brother for the same position.

“In the process, many qualified candidates are daily dropped for the average ones under the guise of catchment zones and educationally disadvantaged states. However, where a particular area has the facilities like a higher institution for instance, I think it will not be out of place to give the people there “a little preference” above the others,” he added.

However, Profs. Tanko Adamu and Barde Ibrahim of Bayero University, Kano (BUK) argued that the quota policy should be retained, as the objective behind it had not been fully met.

Adamu, a professor of Geography, contended that there was still a wide gap between the south and the north in the educational system, which still needed time to bridge.

He lamented that successive governments in the region had failed to give priority attention to education.

According to him, for the gap to be bridged, attention has to be given to basic education, regretting that public primary education had been neglected over the years in the North.

“If you want to bridge any gap, the fundamental work is actually at the basic education level, and we all know that the public primary education system has been neglected over the years. Successive governments have not been focusing on this area, which is actually the key to addressing the gap between the two regions.

“We are not doing as well as we should in the north, so there is no way we can catch up with the South,” he maintained.

He called on leaders in the region to give adequate training to teachers in the area.

“We do not value education in a way that we can sit down and plan properly and I think that is where the problem is,” Adamu stated.

For Barde, a professor of Accounting, the quota system is still in order. He likened it to the 13 per cent derivation enjoyed by oil-producing states.

He also argued that the quota policy was still relevant because the North was still behind the South and called for the establishment of more schools in the region.

-The Guardian

Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

News

I’ve never taken bribe since joining police in 2005 – Force PRO Adejobi

Published

on

Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Prince Olumuyiwa Adejobi

I’ve never taken bribe since joining police in 2005 – Force PRO Adejobi

Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Prince Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has boasted that he has never for once accepted a bribe of any kind since he started active service as a police officer.

Adejobi, who is an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), made this revelation in a post on his verified X account on Sunday.

The Force PRO, while responding to a netizen who asked if he had ever taken bribes before, said accepting bribes is a taboo for him as a royal prince.

According to him, accepting a bribe is not just ungodly but also affects someone somewhere anytime it is taken.

READ ALSO:

He noted that the essence of life is to put smiles on the faces of others and not to be the source of their tears.

He further revealed that he has taken it upon himself to preach against accepting bribery to his fellow police officers and other people around him.

He wrote, “No. It’s a taboo for a royal prince to take a bribe. Taking bribe definitely makes someone somewhere cry for many reasons, and it’s ungodly to do so. Your main purpose in life is to put smiles on people’s faces. It’s Godly and rewarding. It’s my personal principle and a call to duty. I preach this to my colleagues and many others always. May we have the grace to remain steadfast and purposeful in life.”

Adejobi, who is a prince from Orile-Owu Community in Ayedaade Local Government Area of Osun State, was reappointed as the Force PRO by the Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, in August 2023.

I’ve never taken bribe since joining police in 2005 – Force PRO Adejobi

Continue Reading

News

Oba of Benin receives 2 looted ancestral stools from Germany

Published

on

Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II

Oba of Benin receives 2 looted ancestral stools from Germany

The Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Uku Akpolokpolo, Ewuare II, has received two looted royal stools carted away during the invasion of Benin City in 1897, from the German government.

The artefacts — bronze and wooden royal stools (Ekete), were looted during the reign of Oba Eresoyen and Oba Esigie several centuries ago.

READ ALSO:

The returned artefacts were handed over to the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, NCMM, on behalf of the Nigerian government by the German authorities in 2022.

Presenting the items to the Oba of Benin in his palace, the Director-General of National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Mr Olugbile Holloway, pledged to work-hand-in hand with the Benin Royal Court in uplifting and displaying Edo heritage.

He said as the Benin bronzes and other art works are gradually making their way home (Nigeria), adding that the NCMM will join hands with the Royal Court to create a befitting destination for people around the world to come and appreciate these works.

Oba of Benin receives 2 looted ancestral stools from Germany

Continue Reading

News

Osun: Obaship tussle rages in Iree as court restrains Gov Adeleke again

Published

on

Osun: Obaship tussle rages in Iree as court restrains Gov Adeleke again

A High Court sitting in Osogbo has refused the prayer of the Osun State government to vacate the order preventing Governor Ademola Adeleke from issuing certificates, instruments and staff of office to one Prince Muritala Oyelakin as the Aree of Iree.

The state government, Oyelakin and seven others, through their counsel, Kayode Titilaoye, who is the Director of Legal Reform in the state Ministry of Justice, and Dr. D. A. Ariyoosu, had approached the court to vacate the restraining order granted Oba Raphael Oluponle, which stopped the official presentation of staff of office to Oyelakin on May 3, 2024 and to also refuse the interlocutory injunction sought by Oba Oluponle to restrain Adeleke from taking any further step on Aree stool pending the determination of the substantive matter before the court.

At the hearing last week, counsel to Oba Oluponle, Dr Muritala Abdurasheed, SAN, informed the court that the substantive matter was already before the court and parties had been served accordingly.

He urged the court to grant the interlocutory injunction, arguing that taking further steps on the matter before the court was not only contemptuous of the judiciary but also injurious to Oba Oluponle.

READ ALSO:

Justice M.O Awe, in his ruling, refused the application of the state government and Oyelakin and granted interlocutory injunction sought by Oba Oluponle and restrained Governor Adeleke from issuing certificate, instrument and staff of office.

The order reads in part: “It is my view that the complainant’s application for interlocutory injunction ought to succeed. Accordingly, the application succeeds and it is hereby ORDERED AS PRAYED. “Specifically, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants/respondents are hereby restrained from installing the 9th defendant and respondent as Aree of Iree and/or present a staff of office to the said 9th defendant /respondent pending the hearing and the determination of the substantive suit that is the originating summon of the claimant pending before the court.

Parties are to bear their costs.”

It would be recalled that the court, on Friday, May 3, 2024, stopped Governor Adeleke from presenting staff of office to Oyelakin at an event scheduled to hold on Saturday, May 4, 2024 in Iree after preparations had been concluded for the ceremony.

The state government, through his Commissioner for Information and Civic Engagement, Kolapo Alimi, in a statement, said the governor had obeyed the court order and suspended the ceremony till further notice and directed the government legal team to approach the court to vacate the interim order.

READ ALSO:

Oba Oluponle had been appointed by the former Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s administration and presented with the certificate and staff of office, but Governor Adeleke later issued an Executive Order that he should vacate the palace, without recourse to the fact that a case was pending in court on the matter as of the time.

The government subsequently issued a White Paper nullifying the appointment of Oba Oluponle and ordered that the case which was instituted against his appointment should be withdrawn before the commencement of a new process.

Continue Reading

Trending

Skip to content