Sunday, August 14, 2022

Reducing UTME cut-off marks competitive: North-East Stakeholders

Stakeholders who spoke in Bauchi, Damaturu, Dutse, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola described the move as a welcome development.

• August 1, 2022
JAMB candidates used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: Channels TV]

Stakeholders in the education sector in the North-East say lowering the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) cut-off marks will encourage competition and educational development.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and heads of tertiary institutions of learning and other stakeholders on July 21, adopted 140 cut-off marks for admissions in the 2022/2023 academic session.

The board adopted 140 as the minimum cut-off marks for admission into universities and 100 for polytechnics and colleges of education, respectively.

Stakeholders who spoke in Bauchi, Damaturu,  Dutse, Gombe, Maiduguri and Yola, described the move as a welcome development. They stated that it would provide level-playing ground for candidates seeking admission into universities and other institutions.

While others dismissed it as inimical to sustainable development of tertiary education in the country.

Mubarak Tanko, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology Science, University of Maiduguri, said reducing the cut-off marks would not affect post-UTME tests, stressing that institutions are allowed to set their own cut-off marks.

“Competitive schools will likely set their admission mark above the minimum 140 cut-off mark, especially those with a high number of applicants, they might set their cut-off mark at 200 and above,” he said.

According to him, the 140 cut-off will avail candidates who score below 200 to get admission in less competitive universities across the country.

In the same vein, Shareef Bunu, an official of the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) in Borno, said the UTME score was not the sole determinant of the placement of candidates into tertiary institutions.

“JAMB gave the institutions free hand to consider any score they deem fit for their candidates,” he said.

Idriss Muhammad, a resident of Bauchi, commended JAMB for the gesture, saying it will enhance access to quality tertiary education in the country.

However, Hassan Langa, provost of the College of Education, Billiri in Gombe, said continuous lowering of the UTME cut-off marks, indicated lack of competitiveness in the education system in the country.

“Lowering of the cut-off mark is not fair for our educational system, the one for universities should be 180, polytechnics and COEs 160 and 140 respectively. The 100 cut-off mark for COEs is too low considering the fact that those that will be admitted were potential teachers,” Mr Langa explained. “You are now sending those with very poor performance to colleges and you expect them to become teachers in the future.”

Also, Salisu Rakum, former dean of the Faculty of Education, Federal University of Kashere, said reducing the cut-off would have adverse effects on education standards.

He said the trend would make students less committed to their studies thereby affecting their academic performances.

“COEs as potential teacher training centres need the best and competent hands because the future of every career is in their hands,” he said.

Bashir Yusuf, chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University Dutse chapter, who corroborated earlier opinion said the trend would further deteriorate tertiary education in the country.

According to him, the action would produce poor quality graduates who could not compete with their contemporaries across the globe, arguing that lecturers will find it difficult to train such students since they lack prerequisite requirements and capacity for advanced education.

The ASUU official further identified poverty, corruption and poor standard of living, lack of computer literacy or access to ICT as some of the obstacles towards achieving good performances in the UTME.

Mahdi Abba, a lecturer at the Modibbo Adama University (MAU), Yola in Adamawa, said candidates seeking admission into universities should be subjected to academic rigour and competitive entry examinations.

Fatima Abubakar, a lecturer in the Computer Department at the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, attributed the low students’ performances in the UTME to the falling standard of basic and post-basic level of education.


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