• New policy, partial autonomy for varsities –VC
From Fred Ezeh and Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has described as unfair the barrage of criticisms it has received from the public since its pronouncement of the minimum cut off marks for 2017/2018 admission into tertiary institutions.
JAMB’s Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, had, after a policy committee meeting in Abuja last week, announced that 120 would be the minimum cut off mark for admission into universities. The committee also decided that 100 would be used as cut off mark for admission into polytechnics and colleges of education.
The pronouncement attracted wide reaction from the public, particularly educationists and stakeholders; while some of were in support, others were against the decision of JAMB.
But JAMB’s spokesman, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, in a statement, explained that the cut off marks were collective decisions made by heads of tertiary institutions, who were members of the committee and not the exclusive decision of JAMB.
He said: “Besides, Federal Government has lifted the ban on Post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (Post-UTME) which has also given the institutions the opportunity to weed out candidates who did not meet the basic requirements. “The board was a creation of the Vice Chancellors for a central body that will streamline the process of admission and eliminate multiplicity of entrance examination and admissions. So, it is misleading to say that Vice-Chancellors rejected the cut-off marks.”
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of Veritas University, Abuja, Prof Michael Kwanashie, yesterday, said there was nothing wrong with the recent decision of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) benchmarking qualifying scores for admissions into the universities and polytechnics at 120 and 100, respectively. Kwanashie, who spoke in Abuja, said instead of reducing standards as believed by many; the new policy gave some form of autonomy to the universities as the power to admit students now rests with their senates.
“Let’s correct the impression; JAMB didn’t reduce cut-off mark, it simply said universities are now free to fix the cut off points of students they admit. They are saying the universities can do that only to a base of 120.
“In my university, for example, we are retaining 180 as cut-off mark and even looking towards increasing rather than decreasing it. So, each university will have to decide on its own the sort of students they want to come into their institutions and how prepared they are to handle candidates of 120,” Kwanashie stated.
The VC, however, said Nigerians were anxious to see at the end of the day, the list of universities and the cut-off marks they would eventually settle for.
On whether the policy would not have adverse consequences on the quality of the nation’s tertiary education, he said if a university senate “so judge that a student who writes whether aptitude or qualifying test and scores as low as 120 is qualified to enter the university, I maintain that I have to respect the decision of that senate.”