The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has awarded the sum of N500 million as a prize to 13 tertiary institutions scattered across the country.
The beneficiary institutions, which include those owned by the federal and state governments, and also private universities, were ranked best for the 2020 JAMB National Tertiary Admissions’ Performance-Merit Award (NATAP-M Award).
Each of the five categories of the awards attracted N100 million shared among the best three institutions that win in each of the categories.
These categories include the most preferred institution by candidates, the institution with the highest national diversity, the most improved institution in gender balance, and the institution with the highest number of international students.
The presentation of prizes was held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, on Thursday, during the admission policy meeting which was chaired by the education minister, Adamu Adamu.
The award ceremony according to the JAMB registrar, Is-haq Oloyede, was the third in the series since it was initiated in 2018.
Mr Oloyede, a professor and former vice-chancellor, said N75 million will be presented to the winners, N15million and N10 million to the first and second runners-up.
He noted that the prize which was pegged at N100 million for the winners alone was reviewed to accommodate prizes for runners following the recommendation of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) emerged as the most sought-after tertiary institution in Nigeria, with 81,659 applicants in the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME), while Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) ranked second with 75,446. Bayero University, Kano (BUK), ranked third with 59,506.
While UNILORIN was rewarded with N75 million, ABU and BUK received N15 million and N10 million, respectively.
In the category of the most national in admission spread, Kaduna Polytechnic, Kaduna State emerged the first, having candidates across 33 states of the Federation.
Ahmadu Bello University, with candidates across 32 states and Afe Babalola University, with candidates across 29 states, emerged first and second runners-up, respectively.
Mr Oloyede said this category considers the institutions with the highest number of diverse students from across the country.
Meanwhile, Federal University, Lafia, took home the prize for the most improved in gender balance for the year 2020. The FCT College of Education, Zuba, emerged as the first runner-up and Abia State University, Uturu as the second runner-up in the category.
For the institution with the highest number of foreign students, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria emerged first with 61 candidates; the University of Maiduguri came second with 20 and Nile University, Abuja, ranked third with 11.
Meanwhile, Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, emerged as the best in compliance with the policy guidelines of JAMB. The first and second runners-up winners are the University of Ibadan, and the University of Maiduguri, respectively.
The JAMB registrar, ahead of the next 2023 award ceremony, announced that the board will separate the prizes of universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
He added that the total prize currently put at N500 million will by then be raised to N750million.