About 367,499 candidates applied for the 43,717 slots available in Medicine Departments in Nigerian universities for the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examination conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, The OWLNEWS reports.

According to data obtained from JAMB by OWLNEWS, the highest percentage of candidates for the examination chose Medicine as their first choice for course of study in universities.

The OWL NEWS reports that JAMB is a Nigerian entrance examination board for tertiary-level institutions. The board conducts entrance UTME for prospective undergraduates into Nigerian universities.

No fewer than 1.8 million candidates sat for the 2022 UTME/Direct Entry examinations conducted by the admission body.

According to the 2022 statistics recently released by the board, 367,499 candidates applied for medicine while only 43,717 slots exist.

It was also revealed that 231,907 applied for social science courses despite that only 93,277 slots are available while 204,734 applied for science-related courses despite 132,796 vacancies.

Further breakdown also revealed that 81,653 applied for Law-related courses despite 8,529 vacancies; 103,891 students applied for technology-related courses with 60,199 vacancies; 72,014 applied for courses under Arts and Humanities despite 48,744 vacancies.

However, JAMB noted that fewer candidates applied for Agriculture and Education-related courses despite the huge vacancies existing in the faculties.

For instance, despite 111,601 vacancies existing for Education courses in all Nigerian universities, only 53,612 candidates applied.

The board also noted that 21,568 applied for Agriculture despite the country’s universities having 31,217 vacancies.

Our correspondent learnt that the board’s Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, raised the issue when he met with the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu; and heads of agencies as part of the board’s policy meeting in Abuja last Thursday.

“Look at Medicine for instance, we had 367,499 for vacancy of 43,717 which means we only have vacancy of 11.90 per cent for those that applied.

“Same thing with Social Science, but when you come to Education, you have 53,000 applicants for position of over 100,000 which means that even if you admit all those who applied for Education even if they don’t have the qualifications, we still have vacancies. That is why for such persons, if only they have their O’level results, they get admitted.

“The UTME is a factor of inadequacy in syntax of number. If we have enough vacancies, we will probably not have UTME. Same thing with agriculture, Agric is even worse than education,” Oloyede reportedly said at the meeting.

Commenting on the development, the Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, stressed the need for proper sensitisation of students at secondary school level.

Oluwatoyin said, “We live in an age when it doesn’t matter your course of study. What matters are the required skills. There used to be a time when people used to think that if you are not a doctor or a nurse, you won’t be successful. This is not right, these days we have people venturing into tech jobs among others.

“Another factor is the unequal distribution of jobs across sectors. These days, people believe that once you study Education, you will end up as a teacher in one private school or if you study Agriculture, you won’t get a proper job.

“The government itself needs to set the pace to ensure that there is investment in every sector. When you invest in Agriculture, Education and there are good jobs, you will see that applicants will continue to apply and it will reduce this imbalance we are looking at.”

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