Only 520,000 of the 1.7 million that wrote the 2013 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) can gain admission, the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, disclosed yesterday.
Rufai expressed sadness over the fate of the remaining 1.2 million candidates whom she said cannot be accommodated.
The Minister spoke after monitoring conduct of the UTME within schools in Abuja and Suleja, Niger State alongside the Registrar and Chief Executive of the Joint Admission and Matriculation (JAMB), Prof. Dibu Ojerinde.
She called for Private Pubic Partnership (PPP) to resolve the crisis despite Federal Government’s effort in building more universities.
The Minister also solicited for assistance of state governments in building more universities.
A total of 1, 629, 102 candidates applied for the Paper-Pencil Test (PPT) while 15, 008 candidates applied for the Dual Based Test (DBT).
91, 610 candidates applied for the Computer Based Test (CBT).
The Minister called for acceptance of CBT because Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind in development.
She said: “The education sector being part of the transformation agenda has to move forward. What we have just seen today is a simple transformation from Paper Pencil Test (PPT) to the dual examination.
“If other countries are moving or developing, there is no way Nigeria cannot also move forward.
“It doesn’t mean that if some students cannot sit for computer examination then all students in Nigeria cannot do it.
She added: “There are some who are good in that and other should learn that way. We should be advanced like other countries.
“We have started with the dual examination where we have taken the Paper Pencil Test (PPT) and the Computer Test.
She assured thatresults will be out in the next 10 days.
On carrying capacity, she said: “Our major concern is that a country like Nigeria having over 1.7 million that have sat for today’s examination and those that will sit for that of May to gain entrance into the university and the space that we have is 520 thousand for University, Polytechnic and Colleges of Education.
“Assuming that we have 1.7 million that have sat for the examination and we have 520 thousand spaces, what are we going to do with the remaining 1.2 million candidates?
“We cannot expand our carrying capacity simply to accommodate the remaining students without the expansion of our facilities.
“Our facilities as of today are basically for the 520 thousand students and that we are calling for the improvement in access and we are calling for the Public Private Partnership (PPP).”
A male candidate, Isaac Okebe, was arrested for impersonation and handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for further interrogation.
The candidate refused to answer questions from newsmen.
Ojerinde said the rightful owner of the examination number was found to be in Enugu State after verification.