What is the Quota System in Nigeria?
A quota system is any selection process (for example, for employment or school admittance) in which a specified percentage of individuals chosen must be of a specific ethnic or racial background and/or gender.
According to the quota system policy, specified percentages of admission spaces into Nigerian institutions are allocated based on population, ethnic considerations, and states of origin.
The quota system and catchment regions are federal government measures designed to close the educational gap between educationally developed and educationally underdeveloped states.
What is the admission quota?
In this sense, quota refers to the number of people who should come from each state, regardless of whether or not they are qualified for the positions or honors.
Nigeria is reported to have adopted the quota system in its pursuit of human development.
In tertiary education, the quota system ensures that all of Nigeria’s federating units are represented in the admissions process.
As a means of exhibiting federal character in admission to federal universities, the following rules were approved:
- The six first-generation universities– University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, University of Lagos, Ahmadu Bello University, Obafemi Awolowo University, and University of Benin:
- 40% on merit from all states of the Federation
- 30% from catchment areas
- 20% for students from educationally underdeveloped states
- 10% for others at the discretion of the university.
- Second generation universities– University of Ilorin, University of Port Harcourt, University of Calabar, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Bayero University, and University of Maiduguri:
- 30% on merit from all states of the federation.
- 30% from catchment regions.
- 30% for students from educationally deprived regions.
- Others may get 10% at the university’s discretion.
- Third generation universities– the Federal Universities of Technology.
- 20% from the catchment areas.
- 80% at the discretion of the university.
When all other factors for admission to federal universities, merit is the least important.
In order to close the educational gap, the government implemented the quota system and catchment area policies.
While some refer to it as an equity formula, others believe it is inequitable because the admissions process for students appears to be devoid of equity and merit.
Is the Quota System a Justified Way to get Students into School?
The quota system, which has been in place since 1979, impacts all public institutions in the country, including public universities, and governs not only student admissions but also staff recruitment, appointments, and promotions.
Some argue that the Nigerian quota system promotes educational mediocrity and even stunts development.
For admission, recruiting, promotion, and appointment, the quota system uses three criteria. These factors include merit, catchment area, and the degree of educational disadvantage at the state level.
Catchment area is weighted at 35%, merit is weighted at 45%, and the remaining 20% belongs to educationally undeveloped states, which are largely in the north, including Adamawa, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Benue, Gombe, Bauchi, Yobe, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, Kwara, Niger, Borno, and Plateau states, as well as Cross River, Bayelsa, Rivers State, and Ebonyi in the south.
The quota system breeds inequality and corruption.
Candidates who qualify for university admission on the basis of merit but are not from the state where the university they applied to is located or who are not from an educationally underdeveloped region may be denied admission.
To accommodate racial, religious, majority-minority, the admission quota sacrifices quality and competence.
The quota system also affects the ranking of Nigerian universities in the world. In the quota system, excellence isn’t a factor; it’s more about where you come from and who you know.
The quota system also results in ethnicity and tribalism.
In addition, it promotes marginalisation in admissions and appointments.
How Does being an Indigene of a Region aids Your Prospect of Gaining Admission into an Institution?
The catchment area is weighted at 35%, merit is weighted at 45%, and the remaining 20% belongs to educationally undeveloped states.
Being an indigene of a region aids your possibility of getting admitted into a university that falls within their catchment area.
Let’s say two candidates are seeking admission to study their preferred courses in the Federal University of Technology, Akure. The first candidate is from Oyo State and the second from Anambra State.
With good grades, the candidate from Oyo State has a higher chance of getting admitted into FUTA than the latter because his/her state of origin falls within FUTA’s catchment area, which is weighted at 35%.
Why Should You Think of Admission Quota Before Applying to Universities?
Candidates should consider the admission quota before applying to public universities because it largely determines if they would be accepted or not.