Academics, parents speak on lowering JAMB cut-off marks
The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), on July 21, pegged the minimum cut-off score for admission into the country’s universities at 140, polytechnics at 120, and colleges of education at 100 for the 2022/2023 academic session.
JAMB had approved 160 as the cut-off mark for 2020/2021 university admissions, while it pegged 120 as cut-off marks for polytechnics and 100 for the school of education and innovative institutions.
Last year, it announced 140 as the cut-off mark for all federal, state, and private Universities, 100 for polytechnics, and 80 for colleges of education in Nigeria for 2021 admission.
The trend of the cut-off marks over the years, dropping in the case of universities to 140, of the total 400 marks, has elicited mixed reactions.
Some described the lowering of the cut-off, the benchmark for placement of candidates into the country’s institutions of higher learning, as worrisome, with implications for education standards.
Others, however, think otherwise, saying it is not the sole determinant.
Oluwole Familoni, immediate-past deputy vice-chancellor (Academics and Research), University of Lagos, believes low cut-off marks would not encourage competition.
He said there was a need to ensure that candidates are challenged to get the best for the universities, especially other tertiary institutions.
This, according to him, will ensure that the best are admitted and fit for purpose during and after graduation.
Ibrahim Bakare, chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Lagos State University, Ojo (ASUU- (ASUU-LASU), believes the recent JAMB cut-off reflects the performance of the candidates.
He said the government should double efforts in motivating and training teachers, provide enabling environment for schools to compete as well as provide more funds for the education sector.
But Adeolu Ogunbanjo, deputy national president, National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), posits that cut-off marks can be seen only as a guide to university admission, but not in totality.
He said the institutions still conducted their own internal examination using the Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.
Andrew Agada, the principal, Kings College, Lagos, believes that the candidates’ performance in the examination could have been part of the reason for the cut-off marks announced.
“Universities used to be 180 at least, but getting to this level right now, means something must be fundamentally wrong somewhere,” he said.
Sunday Fowowe, national president, Association of Nursery and Primary Education Instructors in Nigeria (ANPEIN), expressed concern at the cut-off marks for this year.
Mr Fowowe said the poor performance of candidates in this year’s examination were possibly due to the questions being above the curriculum or syllabus given to them to study.
“We must do a four-year longitudinal study of their performance in their future departments, to see if there is a correlation between JAMB performance (scores) and undergraduate academic performance,” he said.
To Nasir Fagge, a former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), there is a need to review the law establishing the JAMB.
According to him, the idea of allowing the examination body to decide general cut-off marks for the country’s tertiary institution must be scrapped if the system is to achieve its mandate.
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