Government declares support for abolishment of uniform cut-off marks

Temitope Mustapha,Abuja


The Federal government has declared its support for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, on the abolishment of uniform cut-off marks for admission into all tertiary institutions in the country.

It said the current policy lacked fairness, equity and logic.

The Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Gozie Anwukah, declared the full support of the decision of the Board to introduce discriminatory cut-off marks for admissions into Nigerian Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

The Minister gave his nod after a one day marathon meeting with Chief Executive Officers under the Ministry on Monday, in Abuja.

According to Prof. Anwukah, it does not make any sense subjecting candidates who are seeking admission into Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education to the same cut-off marks when the durations and contents of their courses are radically different.

The Minister directed JAMB to consult widely with relevant stakeholders to come up with new and separate cut-off marks for University admission, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education which will take effect in the next academic session – 2017/2018.

The Minister re-stated that the responsibility for admission into tertiary institutions rests solely with the Senate or the Academic Boards of such institutions.

In the case of Universities, Prof. Anwukah said “Senate admits, Senate graduates, full stop.”

Publlish admission slots

In a related development, the Minister has directed the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to publish in full, the list of unutilized admission slots into all Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education on a course by course basis at the end of the first leg of the admission process to enable students and or parents take full advantage of existing admission vacancies in institutions where such vacancies exist.

This according to him will prevent a situation where some institutions have more than the number of students they need, while others can hardly fill their quota.

The Minister used the opportunity to advise parents not to keep their wards at home for the simple reason that they have not gained admission into an institution or course of their choice, explaining that it is better to have their children in school while they await admission into their school and courses of choice.

Making his presentation earlier at the meeting between the Minister of State for Education and Chief Executives of Agencies under the Ministry, JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Olarenwaju Oloyode told the Minister that the notion generally being held that the carriage capacity of Nigerian Universities is far below the number of candidates that qualify for admission is wrong.

Prof. Oloyode said the fact that 1.5m candidates have sat for JAMB does not translate to 1.5m qualifying for admission, explaining that only those with the requisite 180 cut-off marks can be considered for admission, adding that even out of those who make 180, a significant number may not have five credits required for varsity admission.

Prof. Oloyode decried the situation where candidates were required to produce credits in Mathematics for them to be admitted to read Law, English or French, describing such requirements as unnecessary bottlenecks.

The professor argued that no one needs a credit in Mathematics to read Law, English or French in the United Kingdom or France, where we copied our system, maintaining that what was needed was to increase the carriage capacity of varsities in those courses and not to create irrelevant obstacles.

He said that JAMB was a creation of the committee of Vice Chancellors, and that under his watch, the organization would not have any serious challenge with Universities, adding that he was already building a relationship with Vice Chancellors, anchored on dialogue, sincererity and unity of purpose.

In attendance at the meeting were the Honourable Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Gozie Anwukah; the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan; Directors of the Ministry and all the 21 Chief Executives of Agencies under the Ministry.