Several Vice-Chancellors and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have rejected the decision of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to fix admission cut-off mark at 120 for universities and 100 for polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education.
On Tuesday, at a policy meeting held with the heads of institutions and other education regulatory bodies in Abuja, the examination body had approved 120 as the minimum mark for degree-awarding institutions as unanimously agreed by stakeholders.
While the apex exam body fixed the minimum cut off marks for admissions into universities in Nigeria at 120, polytechnics and colleges of education were pegged at 100, while that of innovative enterprising institutes was pegged at 110.
However, the leadership of ASUU described the development as a “sad policy decision,” adding that it was in tandem “with the dream of the present government to destroy public universities in the country.”
Also showing their complete rejection of the 120 cut off mark, a number of vice-chancellors maintained that they would not lower admission standards in their respective varsities.
According to The Punch, the vice-chancellors were of the opinion that the decision would add no value to the nation’s university system.
In Oyo state, a statement issued by the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, on the issue and released by his Media Assistant, Mr. Sunday Saanu, on Thursday, disclosed that the university would never admit any candidate that scored 120 in the UTME.
The statement added, “It should worry us as patriots that candidates who scored just 30 per cent in the UTME can be admitted into some of our universities. Yet, we complain of poor quality of our graduates. You can hardly build something on nothing. The consolation here is that since JAMB started conducting this qualifying exam in 1978, UI has never admitted any candidate who scored less than 200 marks out of the maximum 400 marks.
“This translates to a minimum of 50 per cent. This remains our position as an institution aspiring to be world-class. Reality is that only about four other universities in the country have such high standard. To that extent, apart from being the oldest, we are an elite university in the country at least judging by the quality of our intakes.’’
Also lending voice on the development, the Vice-Chancellor, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State, Prof. Oluyemisi Obilade, said that the onus would ultimately fall on parents and employers of labour to decide “between a first-class graduate of a university which takes 120 as its cut-off mark or one that takes 180 as its cut-off mark.’’
Obilade, who said that TASUED would never go below 180, insisted that many of the VCs at the Combined Policy Meeting during which the 120 benchmark decision was made, said they would not go below 180.
She said, “But some universities chose 120 at the meeting. What the JAMB has done is to transfer power back to the Senate of universities to decide their cut-off marks. What I can tell you is that many public universities and even private universities will not go below 200. We were told that some universities were doing what they called ‘under the table admission’ and then come back to JAMB after four years for regularisation.
“TASUED will not go below 180, not under my watch. Even in the United States, there is what we call Ivy League universities, and there are those you can call ‘Next Level Universities.’ There are also those that are termed community colleges. At the meeting, the outcome is that universities have been given the freedom to decide. It is not general legislation and it is not binding on everybody.’’
Addressing newsmen in Ibadan, the Chairman of ASUU, at the University of Ibadan, Dr. Deji Omole, said it was the dream of the present government to destroy education in the country.
He said, “Rather than sanctioning the identified universities that admitted over 17,000 students illegally, the JAMB registrar simply regularised illegality and lowered cut-off marks to favour the interests of the friends of government who own private universities and are hell bent on destroying public education.”
“Where are the students that the JAMB registrar said entered universities illegally? Which universities admitted them? If 30 per cent did not take JAMB and found their way into the university system, is that not corruption and a message that JAMB is not significant anymore? What sanction did those who did the illegal thing receive other than regularisation of illegality.
“We are watching because long before now we have said that JAMB has outlived its usefulness. Let the universities set their unique standards and those who are qualified can come in. Scoring 120 out of 400 marks is 30 per cent. Even in those days, 40 per cent was graded as pass. But now JAMB said with F9 which is scoring 30 per cent you can be admitted.
“They deliberately want to destroy education. Even for polytechnic, 100 marks is 25 per cent. It is sad. And that is where we are in Nigeria. They want to destroy public education at all costs. This is not setting standard for education in Nigeria. It is purely lowering standards and digging grave for the future. This is why ASUU is currently on the struggle to influence the government to do the needful for education in Nigeria.”
On his own part, the Dean of Students Affairs, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof. Kayode Alese, who spoke on behalf of FUTA management, said that the institution would soon unveil its cut-off mark.
His words: “However, I can assure you that FUTA has never gone as low as 120. It has never happened and it will never happen.”
“Having spoken for the university, my personal opinion is that the 120 cut-off mark will not add value to our education system. The Federal Government has just increased the pass mark from 40 to 45 in universities. What that means is that you must score at least 45 for you to pass any course. We have enough candidates and yes you may try to increase access but tertiary education should be for those who have the capability.’’
Also, the Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof. Tope Ogunmodede, said the institution would not admit any candidate with 120 UTME score.
He said, “Traditionally, OAU has never admitted students who scored below 200 in the UTME. For us, we are sticking to 200. The minimum benchmark is 120 but you can go higher than that. I expect that an institution should be able to determine the quality of its graduates because there are internal exams. What has been done is to provide a leeway for universities to decide their cut-off marks.”