Earlier this week, the University of Ilorin (Unilorin) in Kwara State, emerged the ‘2016 university of first choice’ among student-applicants in Nigeria. A survey ‘painstakingly’ carried out by the Economic Confidential, using computed and analyzed details as approved by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on preferred first university of choice in 2016, showed that Unilorin had the highest student-applicants of 103,238 students, with male student-applicants of 51,082 and female student-applicants of 52,156.
Using the report as gathered from JAMB, the Economical Confidential inferred that applicants seeking admission into universities considered academic stability, popularity, affordability, available facilities and quality of lecturers as part of their check-list before making choices in their applications. In a list of 40 federal Universities in the country, Unilorin was rated number one followed by the University of Benin, with student-applicants of 81,363 made up of 39,729 of male applicants and female applicants of 41,571. Ahmadu Bello University, Northwest Nigeria is third in the ranking while the fourth and the fifth are University of Nigeria Nsukka and Bayero University, Kano both South- East and North-West Nigeria respectively. Speaking on the development to Premium Times, JAMB spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, disclosed that the students’ checklist as outlined in the report was not determined by the Board.
He said: “JAMB has no way of determining these factors from information available to us through the frequency of schools chosen by Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) candidates.” “What we do each year, is to roll out data on the institutions with the highest number of applicants. “For some years now, the University of Ilorin has been topping that chart, this does not mean that the school is the best in the country. It just shows students’ preferences.” “We only have access to the number of students who choose these schools. We cannot determine why they do so. UTME candidates are not asked why they choose schools.”
“For instance, if we have 1.6 million candidates applying through JAMB and 120,000 candidates choose University of Ilorin as first choice, automatically it becomes the most popular choice for that year, that is how we arrive at our data.”
As said by the spokesperson of JAMB, it remains unclear why applicants prefer the Kwara-based federal university ahead of others, but what remains clear is that: Unilorin is one or perhaps the only institution in the country that hardly embark on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike actions – a problem that has plagued many federal universities in the country. As a result of this, the university was said to have one of the fastest academic calendars of all institutions in the country.
Also, Nasarawa State University, Imo State University, Kaduna State University, Delta State University and Adekunle Ajasin University were the most popular state university choices for 2016.
While Covenant University, Afe Babalola University, Babcock University, Igbinedion University and Bowen University are the most popular private university choices for 2016.
The University of Ibadan, which was recently placed at 801 in the 2016/2017 global ranking of 1,000 universities carried out by Times Higher Education (THE), was spotted at number 8.