The motivation to write on this matter is informed by the preponderance of telephone calls I receive on a daily basis across the country from candidates, parents and educationists, wanting to know how they can secure admission into the University of Ibadan. The refrains of this daily deluge of telephone inquiries have always been: “I love UI, I want to attend UI, but I don’t know anybody there. I don’t have connection there! Can you assist me? How much can I give in order to gain admission to UI?” What a misconception! They see UI as the richest ad cheapest intellectual citadel of higher learning in Nigeria, being a federal institution, and still they are bereft of basic facts about the university.
One will now begin to enlighten the callers, explaining the modalities of securing admission into the Nigeria’s premier university, fondly referred to, as the First and Best. For a fact, and, in order to draw a distinction between UI and other universities in the country in terms of transparency of admission process, thousands of the past and present UI students will proudly attest to the fact that candidates don’t have to know anybody before securing admission. You don’t need any connection, neither do you have to give bribes in order to gain UI’s admission. In other words, UI’s admission process is not only tough and transparent, but also absolutely merit-driven. This is because the university sees all the states of the federation as its catchment areas. Thus, admission slots are highly competitive, available only to the best of the best candidates, irrespective of socio-economic and parental backgrounds.
Again, UI’s undergraduate admission process seems to be too tough and rigorous because the university is fast becoming a Postgraduate institution, training manpower for other younger universities in the country. Already, about 50 per cent of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian universities are products of UI. This Postgraduate flagship status automatically limits its undergraduate admission capacity. While the National Universities Commission approves up to 8,000 admission slots for UI, the institution admits yearly, an average of 3,500 undergraduate candidates whom the available facilities can effectively accommodate, and in order to be able to concentrate on postgraduate studies.
To be fair to all undergraduate admission seekers therefore, the management has, over the years, entrenched the culture of transparent admission process which gives everybody a level-playing ground for competition, with the ultimate goal of picking the best out of the best candidates. Once a candidate can prove their intellectual worth, there is a chance of gaining admission without necessarily knowing anybody or having connection. With five credits in relevant subjects at Ordinary Level, 200 and above at the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, and a good performance at the Post-UTME test, a candidate has a chance to study in UI.
However, there is a problem somewhere! With the benefit of hindsight, most of the candidates who parade good grades at the WASSCE and UTME levels have always failed to fly when it comes to UI’s post-UTME test, which is more or less a repetition of past UTME questions. Whereas, the test is just a mere quality-control mechanism, designed to validate candidates’ claims. Yet, candidates perform abysmally to the embarrassment of their parents. For instance, out of over 21,000 candidates who sat for UI’s last Post-UTME test conducted last October, only 9,000 plus, got 50 marks and above, out of which UI admitted about 4,000.
But what is the problem? The simple truth is that today’s students are largely distracted. The distraction is probably borne out of their addiction to social media. Indeed, to me, the distraction offered to our students by the social media demands serious attention by both parents and guardians. Our failure to reckon with this fact, simply denies us the grasp of where the problem lies. Social media, to these youngsters, are nothing but self-entrapments. Social media has its own merits, but the youths of this generation seem to tilt much more towards the demerit scale. Candidates, seeking admission to UI, but are habitually glued to Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn , Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat among others, have already limited their chances of securing the university admission, because they may have little or no time to study to the level demanded by UI . In addition to all this social media distraction, the youths equally waste their precious time watching Cable TV stations before switching to sports channels, where they memorise all the names of football players in Europe and Asia as well as the amount of money each player collects. All of these indulgences affect reading habits, thus responsible for poor academic performances.
Let me slice it a little thinner, the reasons for mass failure in public examination are certainly multifactorial. But I am convinced that in today’s world of social media, where everybody is connected and nobody is in control, the social media is responsible for denying the students their dreams, as they don’t succeed academically as much as they have the capacity to. They waste a lot of time on frivolities and pornographic materials. Unfortunately, many parents condone what should be condemned, forgetting that they have a duty to protect these students from being led astray by the social media. In the last Post-UTME test in which my daughter participated, I took some measures perceived by my nucleus family members to be in extreme, which ultimately contributed to her success. Having realised the dangers of social media, I denied her the use of phone until after the test; I stopped subscribing to DSTV until after the exams. I bought several UTME past questions for her and began to monitor her. We indeed studied together! When the result came, it was amazing as she scored 72 and got admission to UI purely on merit. It is said that if you can pay the price, you will get the prize. This was the same Post-UTME test in which thousands of other candidates flunked, getting scores as low as 27, 32 and 41, thereby bungling their chances of studying at Ibadan.
There is no real achievement without some measures of madness. Success doesn’t happen by happenstance. It is a product of hard work. The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and serious preparation. Consistent hard work leads to success. This is therefore a wake-up call for parents to moderate the addiction of their children to social media. Parents have the mandate of moral regeneration. It needs no emphasis that the children of these days need attitude reconstruction to study. Serious reading is the best nourishment for the mind, and the foundation for clear thinking and sound planning. But our children will love to live in luxury of life without too much stress. They prefer to be indifferent about their business of knowledge acquisition. You can’t blame them, this is a generation of consumers and not producers’ mentality. They prefer consumption to production. They find it difficult to stay in their lane of learning. Even when they pretend to be reading, they keep throwing lustful glances at the opposite sex, flashing themselves seductive smiles at the expense of their studies!
Securing UI’s admission is like winning a lottery, nothing beats the feeling. This is a university with the highest number of professors in the country. It is the intellectual capital of Nigeria. It is the only Nigerian university ranked among the best 1,000 universities in the world, seen as the indisputable first among equals locally. Gaining admission to study in such a prestigious university is clearly not a tea party, it comes with a cost. The cost is constant reading. There is nothing in life that comes without an opportunity cost. The culture of serious reading is probably the opportunity cost of social media addiction. Let it be known that the only road to recovery from the danger of social media is self-discipline and effective time management.
It is the responsibility of every parent to instil into their children that success is energy well-directed. Consistency in studies has the compound interest effect in their intellectual development. They must be encouraged. As earlier stated, the youths of this generation are hunters of entitlements. They like enjoying sybaritic lifestyles facilitated by their parents’ sweat or theft of public wealth. Those who say they don’t want their children to go through life without some hardship may be missing the point. If you do everything for your children, what will the children do for themselves?
More importantly, UI does not give room for bribery in its admission process. No amount of financial inducements can buy UI’s admission slot. This is because there are many layers of check and counterchecks. Every card is laid on the table. There is nothing hidden in the admission process. Therefore, if anybody is asking you to pay money into any account in order to facilitate admission, you must know that it is fraud. The university’s admission slots are for the best out of the best candidates. If the best candidate is from the poorest village in the country, the candidate is admitted automatically. Perhaps, to further encourage academic excellence, UI has established the culture of giving scholarship to the best three students in Post-UTME test. What more? Candidates who are interested in UI must be ready to burn all the midnight candles.