The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and about 4,000 tertiary institutions in the country on Tuesday, June 16, 2020, flagged off the 2020/2021 admissions exercise. This ended months of anxiety for the 2,110,623 candidates.
Decisions on the 2020/2021 admissions were taken at the Joint Consultative Admission Policy Meeting held via virtual conference involving vice-chancellors, rectors and provosts of public and private tertiary institutions. It was the first time the meeting was held without candidates sitting for the May/June West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and June/July Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE), a major requirement the applicants need to gain admission.
Two major decisions were taken as regards the 2020 admission. First, the board and the institutions agreed and pegged cut-off marks for public universities at 160 and above, 140 for private universities. JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, also announced cut-off marks for polytechnics at 120 and above while those of colleges of education were fixed at 100 and above. Second decision was that the admission exercise for 2020/2021 academic session will start August 2020.
The meeting was declared open by the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, also attracted key stakeholders from the National Universities Commission (NUC), officials from the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) and top officials of the Ministry of Education as well as other education agencies.
Nwajiuba told the heads of institutions that all the guidelines leading to a successful admission exercise must be strictly adhered to and that they will be held responsible and accountable for all actions and inactions relating to the administration of their institutions, including the process and implementation of admissions. He urged the VCs, rectors and provosts to comply with the timeline agreed at the 2020 policy meeting on the completion of the admission exercise.
“We must realign our academic calendar, including the period of admission with global dictates.’’ He restated that no admission offer should be made to any candidate outside the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS), noting that institutions offering admission outside the CAPS are endangering the system and confusing the candidates.
“The discipline imposed by CAPS are healthy for the system. Accountability and transparency which are the hallmark of the present administration and these are the goals of CAPS.’’ He reminded the institutions of the existing directive to curb impersonation and other vices:
“No institution should recapture biometric or photograph of any candidate for any other purpose, including Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (PUTME) registration.” He said rather than doing so, the board has been directed to make both biometric and facial images of candidates available to the institutions at no cost:
“In addition and for the purposes of emphasis, no institution is allowed to charge more than N2,000 (including the bank charges). The ministry is monitoring compliance and we would not hesitate to sanction anyone who violates any of these directives.
“The holding of this policy meeting signifies the commencement of admission to the nation’s tertiary institutions, mindful of the fact that majority of the applicants are still waiting to sit for their qualifying examinations, the SSCE by National Examinations Council (NECO), National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB) and the WASSCE by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). While the Presidential Task Force is working towards the easing of more restrictions, the Federal Ministry of Education is equally discussing with the examination bodies on ways and means of responding to the challenge.
“As major stakeholders, we must jointly come up with reactions that would realign our programmes to these new realities. While these reactions are being fine-tuned to check their capacities and capabilities to withstand the new reality, JAMB and tertiary institutions could take advantage of the current situation, and consider candidates with previous years SSCE and other qualifying results, to proceed on with the admission process. Whatever arrangement that the country comes up with in the long run, will surely accommodate those who will be taking the examination when the opportunity to do so is worked out.’’
He said the ministry was briefed on the outcome of the 2020 UTME: “We have noted with satisfaction the reduction in cases of examination malpractice, as the results of the examination, more than ever before, now represent a true reflection of the performance of the candidates, the corollary of which is that those who are successful and are admitted to the nation’s tertiary institutions can lay claim to their placement as a product of their hard-work.
“Though there is still a lot of ground to be covered to reach a near perfect system, the efforts being put into the conduct of the examination and admission processes are commendable and worthy of emulation.’’
Oloyede reiterated the need to uphold the sanctity of the respective cut-off marks as well as the directives of the Ministry of Education: ‘’CAPS is being used as vehicle for all admissions since its introduction during the 2017/2018 admissions exercise after series of engagements with stakeholders. The 2019/2020 admission wasn’t an exception either.’’
He said the 2020 UTME started with the conduct of mock examination on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, while the main examination was held nationwide from February 11 to April 18th 2020.
He warned that no institution would be able to move candidates into merit level unless all positive candidates above him/her are admitted either by merit, catchment or through educationally disadvantage states. He said no admission could be initiated from JAMB but from the institutions.
Oloyede said the board and the tertiary institutions will ensure that admissions periods are sacrosanct and must be followed and adhered to, stressing the first choice admissions must be done during the period earmarked for it and other choices must be processed during the timelines set out for them.
He added that JAMB would communicate admissions programmes, calendars and timetables to tertiary institutions immediately after the policy meeting. “At the end of the first choice period, all candidates not admitted would be pulled out of the institutions’ platform on CAPS and be made available to other willing institutions.
“Any candidate who selects an institution for second, third or fourth choice does not need any change of choice or payment to the board to be considered for admission during the period of the second choice admission. Candidates’ notification of admissions through SMS now upgraded with new features and commitment and that JAMB will henceforth publish cut-off dates of all institutions to guide candidates and the general public.
“The board has banned all third-party interactions on its portal for any of its services. Cases have been reported with conflicting authorisation for changes on candidates’ data, majorly between candidates and their parents or guardians. Fraudsters taking advantage of the naivety of some candidates to collect their vital access codes to effect unauthorised changes on their profiles.
‘’Consequently, nobody, including parents or guardians or any proxy, would have access to transact any business on candidate’s profile because fingerprint (or OTP) would be required. It is the Board’s conviction that candidates deserving tertiary education should be able to personally perform all these operations as required.’’
He tasked the over 4,000 heads of institutions, who participated in the virtual meeting to commence the 2020/2021 admission exercise following the released of cut-off marks and the approved admission guidelines.
Oloyede revealed that 2,110,623 candidates applied for the 2020 admission exercise out of which 1,949,983 applicants wrote the UTME and 160,640 others applied through direct entry. He stated that 1,855, 072, representing 95 per cent are for first degree, 36,219 (1.86 per cent) for colleges of education, 58,266 (2.99 per cent) for polytechnics and 426 (0.02 per cent) for innovation enterprise institutions.
The registrar gave a breakdown of universities with the highest number of applicants, including University of Ilorin with 103, 582 candidates; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, received 82,984; University of Lagos got 74,800; Bayero University, Kano, recorded 70, 376 and University of Nigeria, Nsukka, secured 68,971 candidates.
For the polytechnics, Kaduna Polytechnic leads the pack with 5,014; Federal Polytechnic, Offa, 3,469; Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, 3,293; Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, 2,758 and Yaba College of Technology, 2,758. Out of 1,949, 983 candidates who applied for admission through UTME, the polytechnics (public and private) got 58,266 candidates representing 2.99 per cent.
For the colleges of education, the highest sought after institutions included Federal College of Education, Zaira, with 4,330; Kaduna State College of Education, got 3,707; Saadatu Rimi College of Education, Kano, had 2,999; Federal College of Education, Kano, had 2,451 and Federal College of Education (Technical), Gombe received 2, 239.
State statistics of applicants for the 2020 UTME revealed that Oyo State displayed Imo State with 110,578 candidates, representing 5.67 per cent, Osun State which placed second got 98, 472 (5.05 per cent), Imo State had 97,963 (5.02 per cent), Kaduna State which is fourth among the top ten, received 93,473 (4.79 per cent) candidates while Ogun State recorded 93,279 (4.78 per cent) applicants.
The JAMB boss explained that 536,813 candidates, who scored 120 and above wrote the 2020 UTME with their O/Level results and uploaded it on the board’s portal. While over 1,352,989 who obtained 120 and above sat for the matriculation examination as awaiting result applicants: “When the WAEC and NECO results are released the candidates must upload their results to JAMB portal so that they can be considered for admission.”
Oloyede explained that Lagos State which produced the best candidate with 365 and two others in the top 10, recorded the highest number of candidates in irrespective of state of origin with 240,829, representing 12.35 per cent, Ogun State had 109,122 (5.60 per cent), Oyo State overall applicants 103,483 (5.31 per cent), Kaduna State got 102,091 (5.24 per cent) and Kano State received 97, 912, representing 5.02 per cent.
He said during the 2020 UTME, the board discovered deliberate movement of candidates from one computer to the other to indulge in examination malpractice.
No uniform UTME minimum score for admission
JAMB Head of Media and Publicity, Dr Fabian Benjamin, said there is a layer of misconceptions on what is generally described as “uniform minimum national UTME score” for admission. He stated that for long, many candidates and some members of the general public have come under erroneous impression that there is a minimum national UTME score, which they also referred to as cut -off point:
“The truth is that there is no one particular national minimum UTME score for all universities, polytechnics or colleges of education in Nigeria. It has never been. Similarly, in most cases, UTME score is not the sole determinant of placement of candidates into tertiary institutions. The undue attention to the so-called national minimum UTME score (UTME cut-off point) is a major source of failure of many ill-informed candidates who assumed that they have finally attained the benchmark having achieved the so called minimum national score or ‘cut off point’ for admission.
“It is therefore a double jeopardy for many candidates who swallow the popular myth that there is a uniform UTME score (cut-off) for all universities, polytechnics or colleges of education in Nigeria. The myth also incorporates the erroneous impression that it is only the UTME score that constitutes the benchmark for admission. These are far from the truth. Such candidates on attainment of particular grade in UTME celebrate in advance their imminent placements, which in reality may not be at the end of the day.’’
“He said that the board has repeatedly stated that no uniform minimum UTME score (cut-off) for all universities, polytechnics or colleges of education in the country; each institution determines and submits to JAMB its minimum UTME score; after having analysed the UTME performances of its applicants against its available quota:
Decisions at the annual policy meeting on admission does not reduce the minimum prescription of the institutions except the few institutions whose submitted minimum UTME- scores fall below what the policy meeting considers as the minimum score acceptable.”
Benjamin explained that UTME score is just one of the two or three scores that are added together to obtain the aggregate score and ranking of the candidates. Other parameters are Post-UTME /Post -A/L qualifications screening/test score; O/L grade score; and in some cases, physical test (such as applicable in the Nigerian Defence Academy/Police Academy). Therefore, it is the score from all the segments that are added together to have eventual ranking table or ‘cut off’ score:
“For the 2020 admission exercise, for example, no candidate with a UTME score of 209 can be considered for admission into any programme at the Pan African University (PAN) whose minimum UTME score is 210. Also, no candidate with a UTME score of 199 can be admitted into any of the universities whose minimum score is 200.’’
“These are Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; University of Ibadan; Covenant University, Ota; University of Lagos and University of Benin: “No candidate with a score less than 180 can be admitted into many of the universities including, the Lagos State University (190); Afe Babalola University (180); Nigerian Army University, Biu, (180); University of Jos (180); University of Abuja (180); Redeemers University (180); University of Ilorin (180); Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, (180); Bayero University, Kano, (180); Alex Ekwueme University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, (180) and PAMO University of Medical sciences, Port Hacourt (180).
“For polytechnics; no candidate with a UTME score of 199 is admissible into the School of Orthopedic Cast Technology, Ilorin, with 200 as minimum score; just as the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State, has set a minimum UTME score of 180; Air Force Institute of Technology, Kaduna, (170) and Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, Talata Mafara, Zamfara State (160).
‘’As for the colleges of education, the 100 minimum score being paraded is not generally correct. No candidate can be admitted into any of the following colleges of education with a UTME score less than 180; College of Education, Maru, Zamfara State; Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, Enugu State; Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha-Nsit, Akwa Ibom State and Onitsha College of Education, Mbaukwu, Anambra State.
“In the category of innovation enterprise institutions, the minimum UTME score for some of the institutions are as follows; Laurel School of Mines, Ogudu, Lagos, 180; NTA College, Jos, 170 and Oluaka Institute of Technology, Owerri, 150.’’
He stressed that there are cases of candidates with UTME scores of above 300 that may rank below some other candidates with UTME score of 200 when all other scores are aggregated: “Even within each institution, there is a different minimum score (cut–off) for admission into different courses. They are usually significantly higher for courses such as MBBS, Engineering, Nursing and Law, with overall available space of less than 10 per cent of the applicants.
“The board has over the years reiterated the above points to sentisise the general public on the so-called national minimum scores for all tertiary institutions, which continued to generate confusion on the quality of candidates being admitted into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
“It is also noted that UTME is a ranking examination designed to place the best available registered candidates into universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and other accredited tertiary institutions in Nigeria. As such, the minimum scores into each institution or programme vary; based on academic performances of candidates who applied to such institutions. Over the years, few programmes such as MBBS, Engineering, Law and Pharmacy are over-subscribed by candidates.
“Also, some of the institutions attract more candidates than many others, thereby making it imperative for each institution to set its own minimum score, based on its circumstances and as approved at the meeting. The board had always published on its website (www.jamb.gov.ng) full details of minimum UTME score for each institution. JAMB has also always reminded candidates to note that each programme (course) has a different minimum score, which is usually very high for competitive programmes.”