Unity Schools (or Federal Government Colleges) were set up for one purpose. To promote unity among the citizens of the nation. It was believed by the creators, that if Nigerian children of all tribes, social classes, religions, schooled together, it would help promote unity, understanding, friendships and cohesion among children, which would continue into their adulthood and help break down tribalism and religious bigotry.
The Federal Ministry of Education has created a quota system to regulate admission into the 104 Unity schools. The system applies across 4 categories: Merit/Location of School/Need/State of Origin.
What is this quota system in reality? A school will admit 30% of the brightest children on merit irrespective of their state of origin. It will admit 30% from the state the school is located in. It will admit 10% based upon socio-economic need. Thus ONLY 30% will be admitted based upon state of origin (and the controversial different cut-off points).
An example: Admission into Unity School in Ogun State :
1) 30% with highest marks in exams irrespective of state of origin.
2) 30% admitted from Ogun State.
3) 10% socio-economic need irrespective of state of origin.
4) 30% admitted from all the 36 states of the nation and the FCT.
IF Unity Colleges based 100% of their admission on merit alone, aka the highest marks scored, they would not be able to promote the unity they were set up to create.
Imagine if all the children with the highest marks come from 10 states and 2 regions alone? Unity schools will cease to fulfil their purpose of having children from across all states/regions/religion.
70% of admissions to Unity Colleges are NOT based upon state of origin or the controversy of different cut off points. Thus it it difficult to understand the hue and cry that ALL admission is based upon state of origin alone.
To have 30% of students in a Unity school, picked from across all 36 states + FCT, albeit with differing cut off marks, seems like a fair balance to achieve the unity these schools were created to foster.
And once in a Unity school, ALL children are expected well and graded the same way irrespective of whether their admission is based upon merit/need/location/state of origin.