To be considered for a course at any university, college of education or polytechnic, candidates must meet the minimum admission requirements which incorporate possession of five O’ Level credits, including compulsorily English Language and Mathematics.
A number of higher institutions require applicants to have five credits in one sitting and six credits at two sittings. Also, candidates applying to study courses in the arts and humanities must obtain credit in Mathematics, according the admission policy.
While opinions differ, many stakeholders have voiced out their views on the admission requirements. The Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, (JAMB), Professor Is-haq Oloyede, said candidates shouldn’t necessarily attain five credits to go to polytechnics and colleges and must not require math to study some programmes in arts and humanities.
He said: “We are all products of the system. Ten to 15 years ago, somebody with three or four credits will go to college of education; and will graduate and go to the university. For instance, someone with four credits in Chemistry, Biology and two other subjects; probably without English, will go to the college and study Biology, Chemistry and Education; and by the time he finishes, he will have A’ Level credit in General Studies, English, Education, Biology and Chemistry. And that person is not inferior in any way to those who have five credits and above.”
Prof. Oloyede said many students in the colleges of education and polytechnics have less than; the required credits and that candidates with five credits choose to go to universities.
He said only the National Council for Education can change the policy in its annual meetings.
Professor Mukhtar Atiku Kurawa is the Rector of Kano State Polytechnic as well as a member governing board of JAMB. He is of the opinion that the admission policy should be reviewed holistically.
“Actually, there are times when peculiarities will allow you to go even with less than that. The National Council for Education should review the policy holistically. “In a situation where somebody is going to study Hausa or Islamic Studies or Arabic; he does not require Mathematics in all of the courses.
“English could be relevant because it is the lingua franca and Nigeria has recognised it as official language. But for Mathematics, actually, sometimes it is highly misplaced, so there is; need for the council or Ministry of Education to look at it holistically,” he added.
Dr Abdurrazaq Ibrahim, ASUU Chairman, Yusuf Maitama Sule University (YMSU), said “Reducing requirements for admission is like reducing the standard of education. We should start thinking of reviving the standard of education rather than reducing entry requirements.
With regards to mathematics, however, he was also of the opinion that it should not be a general requirement. Muhammad Suraj Suleiman of Federal College of Education, Kano, said “If I can have my way, I will review it upward to seven credits. But for math, here in FCT, we consider it only in the sciences and vocational subjects; otherwise with a pass in math you can get admission.”
Dr Mahabub Musa Garba of the Department of Business Administration, YMSU, said “It is not fair to make a uniform entry requirement for tertiary institutions. For universities, five credits are okay, but for other institutions, if you don’t have up to five credits, you can get access so that you don’t go and sit at home waiting to sit for another exam.”
The Deputy Vice Chancellor of Federal University, Dutse, Usman Adamu Izge, said the harmonization of five credits as entry requirement into higher institutions was a policy encapsulated with a view to reducing the burden on diploma holders and its equivalent seeking direct entry into university.
On his part, the Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Hussaini Adamu, Federal Polytechnic Kazaure chapter, Dr. Abdulsalam Masa’ud, said uniform admission requirement would affect the number of candidates looking for admission into the polytechnics as most of the candidates might prefer to go to university.
According to him, the hitherto four credits requirement for admission to polytechnics was most preferable as it reduced competition between polytechnics and universities, saying “Entry requirement into polytechnics should be credit in Mathematics, English and any two other subjects relevant to a chosen course of study.”
The Deputy Provost of College of Education Gumel, Dr. Babayo, said the policy would not in any way affect student intake at colleges of education adding, the JAMB cut off marks ‘determined who goes where.’A lecturer with the Federal College of Education (COE), Kastina Ala, Sooter Tombowua, also said the policy was not in any way discriminatory.
He also said that while the admission requirements remained the same, candidates who could not meet up high cut-off points for entry into the university could settle for the polytechnics or COEs at lesser score. Tombowua added that in his COE, English must be; at credit in all courses as a general requirement while Mathematics would not be; needed in some courses.
In the same vein, the Rector of Alfred Akaweh College of Advanced and Professional Studies in Makurdi, Dr Tyotom Keghku, also aligns with those that say the policy was not discriminatory.
“For some courses you must have credit in English and Mathematics while in others, it is not mandatory. It is generally about standard. Some institutions even give opportunity to candidates who do not meet the mandatory requirement to make up before graduation,” he added.
Keghku said the policy was intentionally developed so that polytechnics or COEs are; not seen as inferior to universities. The policy would only increase the number of out-of-school children in the country; a lecturer at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Malam Bashir Achida, has countered.
“What will happen to those children who cannot meet up with the required credits? There must be an alternative for them otherwise they will become nuisance in the society,” he said. He added that the policy would make polytechnics and colleges of education ineffective as; students with the required number of credits would always prefer universities.
A student, Malama Abu Idris faulted government for introducing the policy which, she said, would discourage married women from furthering their education. “This policy is very strict, especially for some married women who are nurturing the ambition of going back to school,” she said
A lecturer at Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia, who doesn’t want his name in print, said it was; left for candidates to make a choice on which institution to go to. Another lecturer at College of Education, Akwanga, said the policy is; uncalled for because there are; many courses that have nothing to do with mathematics.
Examination Officer of Department of Economics Plateau State University (PLASU); Danmak Obadiah Ibrahim, said admission requirements for admission weren’t the problem; pointing out that students nowadays are; not short of excellent results but they couldn’t prove they truly earn the results whenever they were; given admission.