How JAMB Cutoff Ratings Affect Higher Education in Nigeria

The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), at its policy meeting held on July 21, set the minimum threshold for admission to universities nationwide at 140 for the 2022/2023 academic session.

He put that of polytechnics at 120 and colleges of education at 100.

Two years ago, he approved 160 as the threshold for 2020/2021 college admissions.

The board also approved 120 as cut-off marks for the Polytechnic and 100 for the School of Education and Innovative Institutions.

Last year, it announced 140 as the threshold for all federal, state, and private universities; 100 for polytechnics; and 80 for Colleges of Education in Nigeria for admission in 2021.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in announcing this year’s cutoff scores, the exam body said that out of more than 1.7 million candidates who sat for the exam, only 378,639 scored 200 and above .

The trend of thresholds over the years, dropping in the case of universities to 140, out of a total of 400, has drawn mixed reactions.

Some describe the lowering of the threshold, the benchmark for placement of candidates in tertiary institutions across the country, as worrying, with implications for education standards.

Others, however, think otherwise, saying it’s not the only determinant.

Oluwole Familoni, a professor and former deputy vice-chancellor (studies and research) at the University of Lagos, believes that low grades would not encourage competition.

He said there was a need to ensure that applicants were challenged to achieve the best for universities in particular, as well as other higher education institutions.

This, he says, will ensure that the best are admitted and employable, both during and after graduation.

Ibrahim Bakare, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Lagos State University, Ojo (ASUU-LASU), believes that the recent JAMB cut reflects the performance of candidates.

Mr. Bakare, Professor and Director of Consult, LASU, said the low threshold has serious implications for the quality of students being produced at this time.

“It implies that the government must do a lot to first motivate teachers in our secondary schools and provide an enabling environment for private schools to be competitive.

“The government should also train and retrain our teachers in public schools and properly equip laboratories to improve student performance.

“More funds need to be allocated in real terms to the education sector, without delay, and teacher well-being must also be improved if student performance is to improve,” he said.

Bakare said teacher assessments, proper quality assurance mechanisms and teaching techniques needed immediate government attention.

“The teaching environment must also be conducive to facilitate a smooth learning process.

“A state of emergency should be declared in our education sector in Nigeria,” he said.

But Adeolu Ogunbanjo, national vice president of the National Parent Teacher Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN), said the cutoff marks can only be taken as a guide for university admission, but not in full.

He said the institutions still conduct their own internal reviews, through the post-unified higher education review.

“Note that students gaining admission into a university must have a combination of high school certificate exam results, JAMB score, and the particular university’s internal exam.

“I think and want to believe that the wisdom that Professor Is-haq Oloyode used there was to make sure admission to the university is now flexible to make sure it takes more students , especially now that a lot of things are disrupting education in the country.

“But lowering the threshold to 140 does not mean that a student who aspires to study engineering can; however, it doesn’t bother us, as parents,” he said.

Andrew Agada, Principal of King’s College, Lagos, believes that candidates’ performance on the exam may have been partly responsible for the advertised cut-off marks.

He noted that some time ago it was higher for universities and other higher education institutions.

“Universities used to have at least 180 universities, but getting to this level right now means something must be fundamentally wrong somewhere,” he said.

Mr. Agada congratulated one of his students who took the exam and got a total score of 355.

He noted that it was no small feat, adding that it was a thing of honor for the college and should be celebrated.

Sunday Fowowe, National President of the Association of Nursery and Primary Education Instructors of Nigeria (ANPEIN), expressed concern about the cutoff marks for this year.

Mr Fowowe said the poor performance of candidates in this year’s exam may have been due to the questions being above the syllabus or syllabus they were given to study.

“Also, maybe the laziness of the candidates, for which they did not study well for the exam, could also be a factor.

“As researchers, we are compelled by this development to conduct a survey of those who scored below 180, which will guarantee admission to the various universities.

“We need to 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.

‘Review JAMB’

To Nasir Fagge, former president of the University Academic Staff Union (ASUU), there is a need to review the law establishing the JAMB.

According to him, the idea of ​​allowing the examination body to decide the general cutoff marks for the country’s higher education institution must be abandoned if the system is to fulfill its mandate.

“It’s one of the things we’ve engaged the government on, in the past. Where in the world will you have a particular outfit to determine what educational institutions are best suited for in terms of admissions?

“Practice is foreign to university autonomy.

“The work of the jury should end with the conduct of the examination. All that remains is for them to collect the results and hand them over to the respective higher education institutions, to decide what they want.

“These institutions will then form a committee that will do further checks, find an agreement and then submit it to the Senate for a final decision.

“The act of deciding who is admitted to a university, for example, should rest solely with the senates of the various universities.

“They should be able to look at candidates’ overall performance and figure out where to set their cut-off and non-JAMB scores.

“In my opinion, I dare say that this kind of practice by the review body does not encourage merit and ability,” the trade unionist said.


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