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JAMB: VCs, ASUU condemn 120 cut-off mark for admission

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and some Vice-Chancellors have rejected the decision of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to reduce admission cut-off mark to 120 for universities and 100 for polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education.

ASUU described the action as an absurd policy decision which was in tandem with the intention of the present government to destroy public universities in the country.

Most of the vice-chancellors Punch correspondents interviewed maintained that they would not bring down admission standards in their respective varsities, stating that the decision would not add value to the nation’s university system.

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, on the issue on Thursday in a statement said the premier university would never admit any candidate that scored 120 in the UTME.

The statement read, “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.’’

Olayinka, however, commended the decision of the Federal Government to re-introduce the post-UTME test and exonerated the incumbent JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, from the cancellation of the test two sessions ago.

“It is gratifying to note that the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who chaired the meeting, apologised publicly for canceling the post-UTME screening last year.

“In effect, universities are now allowed to conduct the test using modalities approved by the Senate of each institution.

“To be fair to the incumbent Registrar of JAMB, he was not the Registrar when the policy somersault of cancelling the post-UTME test was made last year. As strongly canvassed by us at every opportunity, for UI, the need to admit the best admission seekers is the primary motivation for the test and not money, even though we do not pretend that you can run any university so properly called without funds.”

Read also: JAMB announces 2017/2018 admission cut off marks

Speaking to one of Punch correspondents on Thursday, 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.’’

Read also: JAMB: Stakeholders react to admission cut off marks

Speaking with journalists 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.”

Omole said it was vital for JAMB to be scrapped in order to save the nation’s education and its future. He said the board had outlived its usefulness and that prospective students should apply directly to universities of their choice for admission.

He said, “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.

Also, 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.

“However, I can assure you that FUTA has never gone as low as 120. It has never happened and it will never happen,” he said.

Read also: UTME Cut-Off Marks: NANS criticises JAMB, threatens resistance

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.”

Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students has described the reduction of the cut-off marks for admission into tertiary institutions as “a gross misplacement of priority and an exercise in futility.”

The organisation said that the reduction by JAMB, from 180 for universities and 165 polytechnics, to 120 and 100 respectively for the 2017 UTME, would translate to a disastrous outcome in the future.

The President of NANS, Chinonso Obasi, in a statement on Thursday, threatened that the decision would be resisted if JAMB refused to adhere to the status quo.

However, the Vice-Chancellor of the Christopher University, Ogun State, Prof. Friday Ndubuisi, said the new admission benchmark would have no negative implication on the quality of education.

He said, “This is not an imposition. The cut-off mark is a minimum benchmark for admission. This idea of taking the UTME every year without getting admission is worrying. About 1.6 million candidates sat for the examination this year and about 500,000 will be admitted mostly because of the cut-off mark. Most universities will not go below 200, but with five credits obtained in two sittings, a person should be qualified for admission. This is, however, not an imposition. Universities still get to decide on whom to admit through the post-UTME.’’

Was a Senior Associate at Naija News. She is a graduate of Mass Communication, with specialization in Public Relations and Advertising at Master level. A go-getter, level-headed and charismatic individual. She has penchant for fashion, styles and Bollywood movies. Follow her on instagram @bouqui_gold