While many young Nigerians yearly seek admission to tertiary institutions to further their education and are denied the opportunity, in what looks like a paradox, thousands of admission spaces are lying unfilled in those institutions for various reasons.
Among the reasons are the lack of interest by applicants in some courses, false impression given by institutions when their courses are being accredited by relevant bodies, lack of facilities, teachers among others.
For instance, for the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME, and the admission process conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, universities in the country have 179,330 admission spaces yet to be filled as of the end of August this year, according to a document that emanated from the recent Policy Meeting held by JAMB.
The universities, federal, state, and private, were given 601, 775 spaces to fill but have so far filled 422,453 spaces.
The Polytechnics in the country were given 115,243 spaces to fill but managed to get 79,891 filled, while the Colleges of Education had 235,240 admission slots on offer but got 47, 920 used leaving a huge gap of 187,320 unused.
Monotechnics that award NID certificate also had 4,870 spaces but filled only 1,257.
The institutions are given admission slots after their courses are accredited by bodies such as the National Universities Commission, NUC, the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, the National Commission for Colleges of Education, NCCE, in conjunction with some professional bodies as the case might be.
In all, the institutions had 925,762 possible admission spaces but filled 551,553, leaving a gap of 405,256.
At the University level, federal universities had 259, 292 admission spaces in 2020, but filled 222,240, state-owned universities had 221,545, but filled 163,824 and private universities got 120,938 but only 36,381 were filled.
At the polytechnic level, federal polytechnics got 51,663 and filled 41,128, state polys got 51, 620 and filled 35,822, while private ones had 11, 960 and filled 2,941.
Institutions also performed at different levels in meeting their admission quotas as shown in the document.
The University of Ilorin, Kwara State which was given 13,563 slots in 2020, eventually admitted 13, 634 or 100.25 percent, the University of Benin, Edo State was given 12, 584 spaces to fill and filled 12, 336 or 98.03 percent, the University of Calabar, Cross River State got 10, 261 slots and filled 10,888 or 106.11 percent.
Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti got 7,898 as quota and admitted 8,088 or 102.29 per cent and Federal University, Oye-Ekiti also got 8,029 as quota and filled 8,110 spaces or 101.01 per cent.
It was also found out that preference for some courses by admission seekers also led to the vacant spaces in some cases.
The most sought courses are in Medicine/Pharmacy/ Health Sciences where 452,196 applied for admission in the year under review.
Out of the figure, only 36,821 were admitted even though the available spaces were 43,717.
Social Sciences had 379, 135 applicants and only 66, 228 were admitted when the admission quota was 93,277.
Faculties of Education in Nigerian universities had the capacity to admit 111, 601 candidates, but only 95, 317 applied out of which 80, 857 were admitted.