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Equality of access and catchment area factor in university admissions in Nigeria


The objectives of the study were to criticallyexamine the desirability of the catchment areapolicy in the admission process in Nigeria andto analyse the implementation and implicationsof catchment factor as one of the criteria usedin the admission process into NigerianUniversities.

Three federal universities were purposefullysampled for the study. Data were obtained fromthe universities' admission officers,examination and record officers, faculty anddepartmental examination officers. Data werealso collected from the Joint Admissions andMatriculation Board, the National UniversitiesCommission and the Federal Ministry ofEducation.

Data were collected through a preparedchecklist. Two research questions were raisedand two hypotheses formulated. The obtaineddata were analysed by using simple percentageespecially for the trend and comparativeanalysis. The t-test statistic and anova wereused to test the hypotheses, while simplepercentage and ratios were used to compute thewastage rate difference.

The major findings include: that admissionratio into the universities among states wasnot proportional to the size of enrolment atthe terminal grade of the secondary schoollevel in these states which justify affirmative policies such as the one in focusto redress the imbalance; that the universitieshave been implementing faithfully the policyaccording to the laid-down guidelines; that themajor groups in the catchment area of eachuniversity predominate admission, except wherea major group is absent; and that there was asignificant difference in the quality ofperformance of students admitted on merit andthose admitted through catchment area policywhile a no significant difference was found inthe academic performance among studentsadmitted through catchment area, universitydiscretion and educationally disadvantagedstates; and that the wastage rate of those onmerit was lower than those through thecatchment area policy.

Based on the findings, the study suggested thatthe policy should be retained, but finetuned soas to effectively serve as a measure throughwhich the imbalance in university educationcould be minimized and increased access touniversity education by the various groups inthe country would be assured. However, thepaper suggested that the percentage allocatedto this factor be reduced in the light of itsnegative implication on the quality of studentperformance and subsequently the primaryobjective of university education.

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Adeyemi, K. Equality of access and catchment area factor in university admissions in Nigeria. Higher Education 42, 307–332 (2001).

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  • access
  • admission
  • chatchment
  • equality
  • quality
  • wastage