2021 UTME: Fate of over 600,000 eligible candidates hanging in balance

•JAMB pleads with varsities to expedite action on admissions

THE Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has directed all tertiary institutions in the country to expedite action on the completion of the 2021 admission exercise.

This came as parents and some stakeholders expressed concern over delayed admissions in which case the fate of over 600,000 eligible candidates who participated in the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) is hanging in the balance.

JAMB revealed that over 1.4 million candidates registered for both the 2021 UTME and Direct Entry, out of which only about 600,000 possessed the requisite qualifications to be admitted based on available records with the Board.

Nigerian Tribune checks revealed that majority of tertiary institutions, especially public universities, are still processing their 2020 admissions, which were affected by the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) last year.

Checks at University of Abuja, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, and others further confirmed that some of them are yet to conclude the 2020 admissions.

The ASUU strike that paralysed academic activities in public universities lasted about nine months coupled with the lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 outbreak, majority of tertiary institutions in the country were unable to process admissions  for 2020 academic session until late last year.

JAMB also confirmed that it had recorded only negligible number of fully-processed admissions on the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS).

The Board in its weekly Bulletin obtained on Monday in Abuja said,  “All tertiary institution in the country have been called upon to expedite action on the completion of the 2021 admission exercise.

“This call became necessary following the negligible number of fully-processed admissions on the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS) out of the teeming population of candidates with requisite qualifications yearning for admission.

“The board is aware of numerous challenges that have impacted the academic calendars of tertiary institutions as well as the smooth processing of the admission requests but urged them to devise acceptable means of closing the gap and complete the 2021 admission exercise on schedule.”

Director of Admissions, Mr Mohammed Babaji Ahmed, while briefing some select institutional desk officers, implored them to interact with their respective institutions to ensure that even if they are not ready for students to resume, they  could conduct such admissions prior to their respective chosen resumption dates to enable their candidates to know their fate.

He also noted that the board is on the 2022 UTME application documents, hence the need for desk officers to be proactive.

He expressed the resolve of the board to prevent candidates from incurring unnecessary expenses through buying new e-pins that they may not use if they are eventually admitted.

The director decried the situation whereby only about 100,000 candidates have been processed out of the over 600,000 eligible candidates.

Meanwhile, a parent, Mr Johnson Ende, said he was prepared to buy another JAMB application  forms for both his son and daughter as soon as they are on sale to avoid the repeat of what happened to his first daughter who was unable to secure admission with her 2020 UTME result while she did not register for the 2021 UTME.

He lamented that the daughter had been forced to spend extra two years at home, while appealing to the Federal Government and ASUU to resolve their differences causing distortion of academic calendar.

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