It is a mystery: you can write JAMB (yes, Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examination, UTME) at any age. But the public universities have age restrictions. The implication is that you can pass JAMB and the universities will reject you because you are underage. Why will JAMB allow you to even write when it knows you are underage? Confusion everyone – very unfortunate.
The cases of Ekele Franklin, a 15-year boy who emerged as the overall best candidate in JAMB exam, and Emmanuel Chidebube, 16-year old 3rd overall best, should worry Nigerians. Ekele and Emmaneul are among the most academically talented kids in their generation. But there will not be going to federal schools of their choices because those schools have rejected them over age restrictions. University of Lagos has told Ekele that he is too young to come to campus even though he is academically matured than anyone coming to UNILAG this year!
If Ekele Franklin, the 15-year-old boy who emerged the overall best candidate in the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examination (UTME), is denied admission into his university of choice – University of Lagos – because of age, he could very well walk into another school to start his studies.
That is because a private school, Gregory University, Uturu, in Abia State, has offered the Nigerian teenager a straight admission.
Franklin scored 347 in the UTME.
Ishaq Oloyede, the registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), who mentioned Franklin’s score while announcing the release of this year’s UTME results, said the teenager, who is from Imo State, may not be offered admission because of age.
The Chancellor of Gregory University, Gregory Ibe, has directed the university to offer “immediate” admission, as well as tuition-free scholarship to Franklin, the university spokesperson, Ogbonnaya Ogwo, said in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday afternoon.
Gregory University has also offered admission and scholarship to Emmanuel Chidebube, a 16-year-old boy from Abia, who came second with a score of 346 in the UTME.
But there is hope: a private university, Gregory University Uturu, has offered admissions with full scholarships to both. At least, private schools do not have underage restrictions. The National Universities Commission needs to ensure age restrictions are also removed in public universities. I did not know public and private schools have different admission charters though! The age element has to be harmonized.