If Ekele Franklin, the 15-year-old boy who emerged the overall best candidate in the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculations Examination (UTME), is denied admission into his university of choice – University of Lagos – because of age, he could very well walk into another school to start his studies.
That is because a private school, Gregory University, Uturu, in Abia State, has offered the Nigerian teenager a straight admission.
Franklin scored 347 in the UTME.
Ishaq Oloyede, the registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), who mentioned Franklin’s score while announcing the release of this year’s UTME results, said the teenager, who is from Imo State, may not be offered admission because of age.
The Chancellor of Gregory University, Gregory Ibe, has directed the university to offer “immediate” admission, as well as tuition-free scholarship to Franklin, the university spokesperson, Ogbonnaya Ogwo, said in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, Sunday afternoon.
Gregory University has also offered admission and scholarship to Emmanuel Chidebube, a 16-year-old boy from Abia, who came second with a score of 346 in the UTME.
Mr Ibe, a professor, appealed for the removal of age-limitation in the admission process in the Nigerian university system, the statement said.
Such limitation, the chancellor said, is a “stumbling block placed on the way of specially gifted children” in the country.
The courses the two teenagers want to study at the university are unknown for now.
But Mr Ibe urged the parents of the two teenagers to go ahead and commence their registration in any programme of their choice in the university.
Gregory University, named after a Catholic Pope, was founded in 2012.
The university, according to information on its website, has eight colleges, which includes medicine and health sciences, engineering, environmental sciences, agriculture, natural and applied sciences, and a college of social and management sciences.
Others are law and humanities.
Gregory University, on its website, says its vision “is to be a world-renowned university noted for the high quality of its academic and research programme as well as its professionals, practical and entrepreneurial capacity development”.
The university’s chancellor, Mr Ibe, said on the website that the school has modern state-of-the-art studios, well-equipped laboratories, stacked libraries, and uses sophisticated teaching aids and ICT solutions to “empower scholars with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities that make them stand out in the global world”.