Time Not To Allow Tertiary Institutions Decide Cut-Off Marks

RECENTLY, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) granted freedom to tertiary institutions in the country to set their cut-off marks.

THE board made this known through its Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, at this year’s policy meeting held virtually and presided over by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, with all heads of tertiary institutions, heads of regulatory agencies in the education sector and other critical stakeholders with chairmen of the committees on education at the upper and lower chambers of the National Assembly in attendance.

DESPITE scrapping of the age long method, JAMB would continue to carry out  responsibility of conducting matriculation examinations for entry into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education as an agency of government while institutions will decide their cut-off marks based on their peculiarities.

HOWEVER, the institutions are expected not to go below the minimum cut-off marks of 160 for universities, 120 for polytechnics, 100 for colleges of education and 100 for innovation enterprise suggested by JAMB but are at liberty to raise their cut-off marks for admissions above the minimum set by the board.

THE decision by JAMB to hands off cut-off marks has sparked reactions from concerned citizens. While others see it as a welcome development where institutions will make inputs into the admission process and admit according to their peculiar standards, others view it as a way to further lower the standard of education.

THOSE against the decision view the process as lack of uniformity in the system and a leeway for some regions of the nation to set the lowest cut-off marks for their institutions to favour their citizens who, hitherto find it difficult to obtain the required marks. Institutions will also fall into the temptation of admitting students on sentiments, favouritism, politics and all forms of inducements.

IT is on the premise of these pessimistic views that we call on the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) not to completely leave institutions with the decision of deciding cut-off marks for admissions bearing in mind that the National Admission benchmark is to admit students who can compete nationally and internationally.

LEAVING the power to decide cut-off marks with institutions will make some students lazy rather than encourage them to work hard and compete globally as most students will apply for institutions with lowest scores.

WE therefore, suggest that JAMB should continue to offer a unified examination that can be accepted in any university in the country as it has been doing since inception in 1978. In addition, the board should decide cut-off marks for tertiary institutions on a yearly basis depending on the moment so as to set a national acceptable standard of education for the country.

IT is obvious that JAMB alone cannot unilaterally and arbitrary regulate admissions into tertiary institutions in the country, we call on the board to dialogue and partner with the institutions to regulate admissions.

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