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COVID-19: 1.3 million UTME candidates can’t seek admission over delayed WAEC, NECO exams

No fewer than 1 , 300, 000 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination candidates may lose their admission into universities and polytechnics in 2020 over the delay in the Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations due to the COVID -19 pandemic.

This is the category of candidates who used awaiting results to sit the 2020 UTME , which held between March 14 and March 22 – a few weeks into the COVID - 19 crisis.
Both the West African Examinations Council and the National Examinations Council, which should have conducted their examinations in April and May 2020 , have yet to do so due to schools closure since March due to COVID -19.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board at its policy meeting with heads of tertiary institutions in the country on Tuesday announced 120 and 160 cut -off marks for admission into polytechnics and universities respectively for the 2020 / 2021 academic session.

It also said admission processes would begin in August 2020 , with candidates who already had their o ’Level results.

The JAMB Registrar, Prof Is - haq Oloyede , noted that candidates who used awaiting results would only be considered when the results were uploaded on the board ’ s website .
From the JAMB Policy Guidelines presentation by Oloyede , obtained by our correspondent, the figures of awaiting results candidates, who , however, met the cut -offs for universities and polytechnics are over 1 .3 million.

Yet the inability of WAEC and NECO to hold their SSCE as a result of the closure of schools may likely jeopardise the admission chances of the UTME candidates, our correspondent learnt .
On page 144 of the presentation, the registrar said, “ On the 2020 UTME cumulative performance statistics , 1 ,889 , 801 candidates got 120 and above ; the total number of candidates with Ordinary Level results uploaded are 536 ,813 while 1 ,352 ,988 are candidates with awaiting results.

“ Of the 1 , 889, 801 , a total number of 1 ,329 , 289 got 160 and above ; of the 1 ,329 , 289 , a total number of 398 ,984 candidates uploaded their o’ Level results and 930 ,305 is the number of candidates awaiting results.

“ No admission can be initiated from JAMB; it must come from the institutions using the Central Admission Processing System process . In this process , the institution ’s Admission Officer proposes a candidate ; then, the Head of Institution recommends the candidate ; furthermore , the JAMB Desk Officer approves recommendation and finally , the candidate accepts or rejects .

“ After the uploading of o ’Level by a candidate , any admission to be done must consider him or her. If any institution requests for opening of change for programme or institution , it must consider all the candidates who have uploaded . ”
The board instructed institutions to notify it if they were having “ COVID -19 — induced delay or no Ordinary Level results from many candidates .”

When contacted , the NECO Head of Information , Azeez Sanni, said the council was waiting for a directive from the government as “ different stakeholders are also deliberating on the matter and will come up with a solution .”
The WAEC Head of Public Affairs, Damian Ojijeogu , said the council was prepared to conduct the o’ Level examination .

“ We were already prepared to conduct the examination before the lockdown ,” he said in a text message .

In his remarks on Tuesday , the Minister of Education , Adamu Adamu , represented by the Minister of State for Education , Emeka Nwajiuba , directed JAMB and tertiary institutions to proceed with the conduct of 2020 / 2021 admissions .
He noted that admission processes are expected to commence in August based on the guidelines released by JAMB.

“ As major stakeholders , we must jointly come up with reactions that would realign our programmes to these new realities . Whatever arrangement that the country comes up with in the long run , it will surely accommodate those who will be taking the examination when the opportunity to do so is worked out ,” the minister had said .

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