Posted on 5th Oct 2016 by adebayo
It sure has a foul smell and affected candidates are full of anguish; feeling hard done by. And for the management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), among the elite Federal Government tertiary institutions, it must under-go numerous self-review sessions aimed at re-imagining a process that has proved to be anything but noble.
It is a case of admission crisis raised to power two. But the question is: has UNILAG taken undue advantage of desperate parents and students who sought to gain admission at all cost to study some of its prized courses?
As the story goes, some 57 aggrieved admission seekers who have come under the aegis of ‘2015/2016 Foundation MBBS’ are protesting what they consider to be unjust and extortionate conduct of the Joint University Preliminary Examination Board (JUPEB) of UNILAG. JUPEB is another window for admission into Nigerian universities for candidates unable to make it via the joint matriculation examination.
According to the group, Foundation MBBS, UNILAG had admitted 800 candidates who sought to study Medicine and Surgery in the institution through the preliminary programme last year. The total fee per student for the one-session programme was well over half a million naira. These fees do not include the fact that the students catered for their accommodation.
All these pains and hassles would have had a happy ending if the university had admitted most, if not all the students who passed the JUPEB examination to 200 level as they had expected. But the reverse is the case, which is the reason for the current furore. But according to report, after the final exams, the university ‘decreed’ that only perfect students would be admitted – in other words, only students who scored 100 percent would be considered. Cut-off point: 16 out of a possible 16 points.
Yet again, there would not have been any dust raised if UNILAG stuck by its own rule and admitted all the 87 alpha students at the end of the session. But at the critical moment of handing out admission letters, the school was handing out more rules and excuses. Only 30 places are available for medicine through JUPEB, the school authority finally announced! This means that 57 other students who even though scored 100 per cent, were told to settle for such courses as botany, etc. This is how come the pressure group of 57 – Foundation MBBS was formed and they are asking questions.
If UNILAG had only 30 places for medicine, why did it not say so upfront? Why did it sell 800 forms? What are the cost elements of the programme that made it so extortionately expensive? What are the criteria for choosing 30 candidates out of 87 who are super-qualified?
The university, responding through its director, School of Foundation Studies simply said that the university did not promise any candidate automatic admission for medicine. In any case, UNILAG could not have made such promise because the regulatory body, the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) “would not allow us to admit more than 100 students”
“Agreed, the 87 candidates did well, they cannot force the authorities to admit them all to the College of Medicine and that is why we have given them the option to enroll for other programmes.” Why did the university enroll hundreds of students in excess of the limited space available? No one was forced to purchase forms or enroll; even the limited slots had to be thrown open to competition, the university averred.
We also aver that this does not seem tidy and it indeed reeks of bad faith and exploitation. We also understand we have such ruckus as this in other faculties and departments like Law, Accountancy, Mass Communication and more. How many candidates enroll for pre-degree each year and how many actually got admitted for the courses they desire?
It is remarkable and we are indeed sad that UNILAG’s College of Medicine can only admit just 100 students after over 50 years. That is not a record to be proud of. Is it forbidden for UNILAG to develop campuses in other provinces of Lagos like Badagry, Epe and Alimoso?
We urge the authorities of UNILAG to afford itself a bit of self-introspection and rework its current noxious admission process.
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