Admission into tertiary institution is an exercise that involves several stakeholders especially outside the university walls. Some of the stakeholders who are interested in the admission process include the candidates themselves, their parents and siblings, guardians, sponsors and even tutors. Within the university and its environs, we have several lecturers, non-teaching staff, business persons, admissions mercenaries, facilitators who are also interested in the admissions process. The government and other personalities are also interested in the admission process, making it an exercise that brings the university management under the scrutiny of the public.
With such high level of interest, it becomes impossible to grant admission under the carpet, keeping members of the public blind as to what is going on with their aspirations. Currently, admissions are granted with members of the public unaware of what is ongoing. They least have the idea of when the admissions will start; when next list/badge will be released; what programmes are filled up and what programmes are still available to enable them change their programmes of study accordingly.
It is also very notable that the Niger Delta University keeps its public blind as to admission requirements as regards the subject combo as there is no official document released from the admissions office directing Jambites and their parents as to what subjects are required for what programme.
Candidates have to write Jamb first and prepare for the Post UTME and wait for the examination timetable a/few week(s) to the examinations before subject combinations would be released. Meanwhile, many candidates has already chosen the wrong combination.
To add to the above, NDU’s admissions seekers also suffer greatly from being kept away from grading and scoring system. No one is aware as to how the Niger Delta University grants admissions. No one knows if you have to be the girlfriend of the VC or the admissions officer before you can be admitted. Or maybe you both have to be church members or family members before you can be admitted. It is also uncertain if you must be Bayelsan first before you can be admitted. Everything known are under speculation as the university keeps mum over these things.
As at the time of this publication, candidates whose chosen fields of study are filled up has to travel from wherever they are to the admissions office to ask a simple question; which course is available? This is something a good online information practice could have solved.
Another challenge is calling the admissions officers. The admissions office does not even have an office line as if it is not answerable to anyone nor does it feel that it has problems to solve for its publics. And if you have the personal line of any of the officers, responses are not forthcoming as persons who mean business – sure it is a government business.
Transfers are another area entirely of challenge with the admissions office. Currently, the admissions office has not single document made public as to the requirements to transfer to the NDU from another university NDU just to ask a simple question – what are the requirements for inter-university transfer?
Direct entry candidates are also some set of victims of the inabilities of the admissions office. There is literally no information at all on Direct Entry. Some Direct Entry candidates had even prepared to write Jamb exams before in the past. There are no programmes requirements anywhere, there are no admission guideline, nothing nothing. At a point, I was asking myself if this is a university or just playing?
Another challenge in the NDU admissions process is being kept away from the when and the hows. No one knows when admissions will conclude, the total numbers of lists/badge to be released, specifics in time as to the release of these lists and so on. Also amongst these are the numbers of admitted students in each department which could have helped to guide the selection of institutions and programmes amongst students.
The situation was even worse off until the current administration came in and began to gain grounds. Else, total number of students to be admitted or that were admitted was never known. University admission capacity was never known. Number of candidates who applied/wrote Post UTME were never known. While it is true that the NDU have very weak media power to publish these info, it is also true that the NDU failed to see the need in these all important aspect of the university administration and to do the needful.
Letters written by the A & U Ng in the past to request for total numbers of admitted students both generally and departmentally were met with rejection; reason? The data will be used for fraudulent activities. So, because there are fraudsters, the members of the public genuinely seeking for these admissions data do not need to have these data. Are you laughing already? Lols.
Consequently, the NDU admissions process like many other universities is greatly marred with irregularities such as high scorers not being admitted at all. Hence, you may score 290 and above and vying for Medicine; you have not smelled even Science programmes but others with 200 are already admitted. I understand that indigeneship plays a great role in circumstances as these; however, the NDU faulted not having a publicly published admissions procedure that relays the situation to the members of the public.
I have also observed that the NDU admissions officers are also often in dearth of information within its fold as certain circumstances confirms. It is like the admissions office lacks the relevant network to work effectively. Starting from 2017/18, I had commenced clearance for a parent with his ward. He preferred visiting the admissions office to confirm if truly the clearance has started. The parent was somewhat expressively fearful of businesses outside campus. Coming back to the office, he questioned why I wanted to collect money from him when clearance hasn’t started. I asked who told him that clearance hasn’t commenced and he replied that a staff at the admissions office told him so. Meanwhile clearance for that session has started 3 weeks before then. I took the man back to the admissions office to meet the admissions officer who said so and I enlightened him on the process that clearance has started 3 weeks back. All he could say was “I haven’t been informed”.
I brought this issue up because this same incident repeated itself several times sessions after sessions and it has become a case of worry as to why an admissions officer (staff of the admissions office) won’t be aware that clearance has started. I had reported the incident in one of the sessions to an ICT admin who held that it is not his position to inform the admissions officers that clearance have started. He claimed that the Head Admissions Officer is in the same meeting they all attended, that it is his responsibility to relay updates to his subordinates. What is actually the problem then? I guess good information behaviour would have helped out; same problem the members of the public are having with the admissions office – a problem of being kept away from important admissions information.
The NDU admissions behaviour has made the members of the public – the parents specifically – to believe that the NDU admissions process is fraught with man-know-man; causing lack of interest and discouragement amongst candidates and their parents.
The challenges experienced with the NDU admissions process has caused many to change to other universities, change programmes without proper guide, forget about the admissions altogether and has given the NDU a bad name.
The above challenges elucidated can be surmounted with modern and improved admission process. Therefore, it is imperative to suggest as follows:
- The NDU admissions office should create an information page on Facebook and even a website where updates and admissions documents are uploaded on regular basis.
- Employ social media experts to handle these platforms. If social media experts who are good in content creation and management are not utilized, the creation of these platforms won’t mean anything.
- Regularly update members of the public as to what’s coming up next.
- Release admissions guidelines especially requirements, grading system and subjects combinations.
- Detailed the admissions process in specific terms. How many lists will be released, at what time, when will the admissions start and end, etc?
- Connect with secondary schools in the form of a career day. At such events, enlighten the future aspirants as to the overall requirements to ensure they do the right thing before they gain admission. This is because many are coming to the university with so much error in name, subject combination, LGA issues and so on.
- Members of the university community also needed to be carried along as they are the elder siblings, resource persons and parents to many of the candidates. Being fully aware of the admissions procedure places them in a position of trusted career resource persons.
- Proper information about fees should be announced. So many newly admitted students are not ready to search for the NDU fees before pursuing admissions. Hence, they just gain admission blindly, and run away when they see the fees. This surely affects the NDU’s acceptance rate on a negative note which is detrimental to the NDU’s finances.
- Regularly or as funds may permit, advertise the NDU Post UTME application on paid Facebook ads to enable members of the public get familiarized with the university.
- Publish transfers information documents online to guide members of the public as to what to do, what to know and cost of forms before pursuing the transfers.
11. Provide Direct Entry admission guidelines to enable them understand the differences between Direct Entry and UTME admissions.