Home / Breaking News / JAMB and the politics of cut-off marks (part 3)

JAMB and the politics of cut-off marks (part 3)

In effect, the admissions process into Nigerian tertiary institutions was compromised; standards were violated. JAMB therefore decided that every institution must declare a lowest cut off point for its programmes and that every admission must be properly reported and documented, and brought to the notice of the regulator in order to enforce standards and have accurate statistics for educational planning. I got the impression, for example, that some higher institutions must have been admitting all kinds of persons who did not have the basic qualifications and never passed through the central admissions body. It is curious, isn’t it, that the same schools that voted for 180 in 2016, are now asking for 120, 110 and 100?

Secondly, the evidence was provided to the effect that many tertiary institutions do not respect the admission quota in line with the Federal Character prescribed by the Constitution. Most universities simply admit students from their catchment areas and ignore students from other parts of the country. Bayero University, to cite a notable example, admits over 50% of its students from Kano state, and yet it is a Federal University. Even when students from other parts of the country who apply to such universities have high, qualifying scores, they are ignored.

Thus, every year, many qualified students from different parts of the country are left stranded. They miss the opportunity to go to university not because they are not qualified, but because they have been shut out by the politicization of education in Nigeria. To correct this mischief, JAMB has now created a second tier admissions platform called the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS). It is an admissions-market where students who have been rejected by their first choices can seek alternatives, where JAMB can help rejected candidates seek other offers, and every institution can go in search of qualified candidates who may have been rejected elsewhere. This is to help increase the admissions ratio in the country, reduce the politicization of admissions, check the exodus of Nigerian students to foreign universities, create more opportunities and ensure greater equity. The only ouster clause in this arrangement is that at the end of the day, the candidate is free to reject any offer that he or she does not find acceptable, and that has no limit whatsoever.

JAMB in its explanation further recognized that ordinarily, a school certificate result should be enough requirement for admission to tertiary institutions as is the case in many countries of the world. In order to raise standards, Nigeria has a system whereby secondary school graduates still have to sit for UTME conducted by JAMB and Post-UTME, further testing conducted by the tertiary institutions, and confront other unwritten hurdles. The higher education seeker in Nigeria is thus taken through greater rigour than similar applicants elsewhere. In 2016, the Policy Meeting on Admissions had banned further conduct of the Post-UTME to reduce the burden faced by Nigerian students. At the 2017 meeting, however, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu lifted the ban, noting that the tertiary institutions deserve the independence they have always asked for over their admissions process.

 

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