Editorial: Cancellation of JAMB cut-off marks

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In August, a virtual meeting of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) chaired by the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, cancelled general cut-off marks for entrance into tertiary institutions. The implication of this, schools are now allowed to set their minimum benchmarks.

This development is a welcome one and we are optimistic that it would help raise the standard of tertiary education in the country. When the standard of education is raised, socioeconomic development is inevitable, we are glad that jamb and the ministry of education decided to take this bold step.

The Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, said the stakeholders at the meeting adopted the 2021 admission guidelines, which provide that all applications for part-time or full-time programmes in degree, NCE, OND and other programmes must be posted only through JAMB. Oloyede also said some universities such as the University of Maiduguri proposed 150, Usman Dan Fodio University Sokoto proposed 140, Pan Atlantic University proposed 210, University of Lagos 200, Lagos State University190, Covenant University 190, and Bayero University Kano, 180.

The stakeholders also agreed that the 2021 admissions will be conducted only through JAMB CAPS and no institution would be allowed to admit candidates without uploading their details onto the portal.

Since its establishment in 1978, JAMB has ensured uniformity in the conduct of Matriculation Examination while offering admission into universities in Nigeria. The board develops syllables for Matriculation examination into schools of higher learning in line with the different fields of study. The agency sets standard examinations and monitors the same, making sure that students meet the criteria before getting admitted. It also saddled with the task of creating admission requirements while ensuring candidates’ credibility for consideration by its admission unit amongst other responsibilities.

The age-long tradition of setting uniform cutoff marks for all tertiary institutions in the education sector has helped to standardized tertiary education and the output of graduates from the system, however, the introduction of in-house examinations, known as Post-UMTE by universities after applicants had passed the cutoff mark set by jamb made the cancellation of general cutoff mark inevitable.

The notion behind the introduction of the Post-UMTE according to the universities was as a result of the lower standard of the quality entrants. In spite this, allowing individual institutions to fix cut-off marks may affect quality and standard as most institutions now focus on generating revenue through tuition fees at the expense of quality and standard of training.

While big leagues universities would raise their bar and cutoff marks to make admission competitive, others would see the development as avenue to rake in more entrants. In all the danger ahead is that there would be a huge gulf in standard between some universities and the output of graduates.

JAMB is therefore saddled with the challenge of ensuring quality and adherence to policy and directives by all tertiary institutions. The board must ensure that no institution grant admission to candidates that score below the cutoff mark. This can be ensuring if the cut off marks for each courses and institutions are published on the JAMB website for easy access to the public. Any institution found in violation would be sanctioned for indiscipline and fraud by the board.

We hope tertiary institution would take this as a window of opportunity to develop its system and contribute to rehabilitating the ailing education system in the country.

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