There were other stakeholders in attendance, the heads of the National University Commission (NUC), TETFUND, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), NECO, NYSC and the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) – all as observers. The heads of IEIs stayed away from this particular meeting because they had earlier informed JAMB that the heads of other tertiary institutions are in the habit of out-voting and outnumbering them at policy meetings and they would rather have their own separate meeting to serve their own interests. I concluded, there and then, that students’ admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria has become big business and politics, with stiff competition between public and private institutions.
This clarification is necessary because as I see it, some of the participants in that meeting have since gone on a holier-than-thou expedition to distance themselves from it. At the meeting, the JAMB Registrar repeatedly pointed out that the University of Ibadan had made it clear that its cut-off mark would never go below 200. There are other universities like that, including the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the University of Ilorin. I am surprised however that there has been so much uncomfortable hypocrisy from some universities that attended the meeting. The Vice Chancellor and the Registrar of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti were both in attendance and the former spoke enthusiastically in support of the decisions. Yes, the ABUAD VC was there, but curiously, his employer, the proprietor and founder of the Afe Babalola University was the first person to denounce the decisions. We should take special notice, however, of the intervention of the Vice Chancellor of the Tai Solarin University of Education, Professor Oluyemisi Obilade, and Professor Femi Mimiko. Out of over 1, 600 participants at a policy meeting, only two persons are standing up to report the truth?
The objectives of that policy meeting were inter alia, to brief the Degree, National Certificate in Education and National Diploma-awarding institutions on the plans and modalities for the conduct of the 2017/2018 admissions exercise, introduce the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS), seek the cooperation and understanding of stakeholders, discuss and agree on submissions of estimated intakes and compliance with the current prescribed quota from the NUC, NCCE, and NBTE, adherence to institutional/programmes cut off marks, compliance with entry requirements, procedure for selection of candidates who may not be admitted at their first choice institutions, adherence to admissions schedule as approved at the Policy meeting and implementation of the science-arts ratio. These issues were tabled, discussed, voted upon and decisions were taken. The states and private tertiary institutions were exempted from the last criteria, to be determined by their proprietors.
It is important to understand the three main backgrounds to this policy meeting. At a similar policy meeting held on June 2, 2016, the various stakeholders at this same 2017 meeting, had adopted 180 as the minimum cut-off mark for admissions to all tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The regulator’s subsequent discovery is that most of the tertiary institutions did not respect this decision. They admitted students who scored below 180 and never reported same to JAMB; they introduced all kinds of backdoor schemes and programmes under which admissions were offered.