The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), during its policy meeting held on July 21, set the minimum cutoff score for admission to the country’s universities at 140 for the 2022/2023 academic session.
He put the one for Polytechnics at 120 and the one for Faculties of Education at 100.
Two years ago, he had passed 160 as the cutoff mark for 2020/2021 university admissions.
The board also approved 120 as cutoff marks for the Polytechnic and 100 for the School of Education and Innovative Institutions.
Last year, it announced 140 as the cutoff mark for all federal, state, and private universities; 100 for polytechnics; and 80 for colleges of education in Nigeria for 2021 admission
the Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that in announcing this year’s cutoff scores, the testing body said that of the more than 1.7 million candidates who sat for the exam, only 378,639 scored 200 or higher.
The trend of cut-off grades over the years, falling in the case of universities to 140, out of a total of 400 grades, has provoked mixed reactions.
Some describe the lowering of the threshold, the benchmark for placing candidates in the country’s higher education institutions, as worrying, with implications for educational standards.
Others, however, are of the opposite opinion, saying that it is not the only determinant.
Oluwole Familoni, a professor and former deputy vice-chancellor (academic and research) at the University of Lagos, believes that low cut-off marks would not encourage competition.
He said there was a need to ensure that candidates are challenged to do their best for universities, especially, as well as other tertiary institutions.
This, according to him, will ensure that the best are admitted and fit for purpose, during and after graduation.
Ibrahim Bakare, President of the Union of Academic Staff of Universities, Lagos State University, Ojo (ASUU-LASU), believes that the recent cut of JAMB is a reflection of the performance of the candidates.
Mr. Bakare, Professor and Director of Consult, LASU, said the low cap had serious implications on the quality of students that are being produced right now.
“This implies that the government must do a lot to motivate teachers first in our high schools and provide an enabling environment for private schools to compete well.
“The government must 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 the welfare of teachers must also be improved if student performance is to be improved,” he said.
Mr. Bakare said that teacher qualifications, adequate quality assurance mechanisms, and teaching techniques required the immediate attention of the government.
“The teaching environment must also be conducive to facilitating a smooth learning process.
“A state of emergency must be declared in our education sector in Nigeria,” he said.
But Adeolu Ogunbanjo, national vice president of the National Association of Parents and Teachers of Nigeria (NAPTAN), said that the court marks can only be seen as a guide to university admission, not in its entirety.
He said that institutions still conduct their own internal exams, through the Unified Post-Tertiary Matriculation Examination.
“Please note that students who secure admission to any university must have a combination of high school certificate exam results, JAMB score, and the particular university’s internally conducted exam.
“I think and want to believe that the wisdom that Professor Is-haq Oloyode used there was to ensure that university admission is now flexible to ensure that they accept more students, particularly now that many things are disrupting education in the country.
“But lowering the cutoff to 140 does not mean that a student who aspires to study Engineering can do so; however, we don’t mind the pace, as parents,” she said.
Andrew Agada, Principal of King’s College, Lagos, believes that the candidate’s performance on the exam may have been part of the reason the cut scores were announced.
He noted that some time ago, it used to be higher for universities and other tertiary institutions.
“Universities used to have at least 180, but to get to this level right now means something must be fundamentally wrong somewhere,” he said.
Mr. Agada commended one of his students who participated in the exam and got a total score of 355.
He noted that it was no small feat, adding that it was an honor for the university and needed to be celebrated.
Sunday Fowowe, national president of the Association of Early Childhood and Primary Education Instructors of Nigeria (ANPEIN), expressed concern about this year’s cut-off marks.
Mr. Fowowe said that the poor performance of the candidates in this year’s exam was possibly due to the questions being above the syllabus they were given to study.
“Also, perhaps laziness on the part of the candidates, so they did not study well for the exam, could also be a factor.
“As researchers, we are forced by this development to conduct a survey on 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.
For Nasir Fagge, former president of the Union of Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU), it is necessary to review the law that establishes the JAMB.
According to him, the idea of allowing the examining body to decide the general cut-off marks for the country’s tertiary institution must be discarded, if the system is going to fulfill its mandate.
“This is one of the things that we have been involving the government in the past. Where in the world will you have a particular team to determine what is best for educational institutions in terms of admission?
“The practice is alien to university autonomy.
“The work of the board must end with the examination. All you have to do from then on is collate the results and hand them over to the respective higher education institutions, so they can decide what they want.
“These institutions will then form a committee that will do other checks, reach an agreement, and then delivers it to the Senate for a final decision.
“The act of deciding who is admitted to any university, for example, should rest solely with the Senates of the various universities.
“They should be able to see the overall performance of the candidates and determine where to set their cutoff marks and not JAMB.
“In my opinion, I dare to say that this type of practice of the examining body does not promote merit and ability,” said the trade unionist.