The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has said the cut-off marks for admission into tertiary institutions were reduced to encourage as many Nigerians as possible to school at home.
JAMB said rather than have a situation where Nigerians enrol in “mushroom universities” and “glorified secondary schools” in Ghana, Uganda and Gambia, the board decided to take the heavily-criticised course of action.
The examination body said “tertiary institutions hardly fill their available spaces”, and that the need to go abroad is not caused by a “shortage of spaces or standards” but “partly” due to unrealistic benchmarks.
According to JAMB, the worst admitted cut-off mark in a Nigerian institution is “far better than allowing them to fly out to some of the institutions they are attending”.
JAMB reiterated that the decision was collectively made by vice chancellors of tertiary institutions, and as such, none can reject it.
“Today, it is a known fact that millions of Nigerians are out there schooling in mushroom institutions and they will at the end come back with all kinds of degrees and certificates that we cannot explain their content,” said a statement released by Fabian Benjamin, JAMB spokesperson.
“Our Naira is continually devalued as a result of so many reasons, including the pressure to pay these school fees.
“It’s also a known fact that for you to study a course say Hausa in Nigerian universities, you will need a credit in Mathematics; however when you go outside like London, all you will need is a credit in Hausa and English, no Mathematics. Such and so many other poorly thoughtout policies have pushed our frustrated candidates out of Nigeria to developed and neighbouring African nations for education they could not get at home.
“The question we all should be concerned about is how to address the flight of Nigerians to glorified secondary schools called Universities in Ghana, Uganda and even Gambia and others. How do we ensure that whatever we do has positive multiplier effects on other sectors of the economy? If we deny our candidates the opportunity to school in Nigeria, they will find their way out and in doing that deplete our economic base.
“To provide answers to all these challenges, stakeholders decided that institutions should be allowed to determine their cut-off marks according to their peculiarities and the quality and standards they want to be known for.
“Besides, events have shown that many institutions do not comply with cut-off marks in the past; hence the flood of requests for regularisation. Now, the new management has resolved to stop it and ensure full compliance with resolutions on cut off-marks.
“JAMB will equally ensure that it correct all anomalies existing especially as regards the powers of institutions to make pronouncements on admissions and other related matters affecting the institutions.
“It is also very misleading to say that Vice-Chancellors reject the cut-off mark. This may be the editors’ power of caption, you can only reject an offer and not when the power to determine such privilege lays squarely on your hands.
“All Heads of tertiary institutions were requested to submit their cut off benchmark to the Board which will then be used for the admission. And these benchmarks once determined cannot be changed in the middle of admission exercise. Again, it is necessary to explain that the 120 mark does not in any way suggest that once you have 120 then admission is sure for you. Institutions will admit from the top to the least mark.
“The cut-off marks being branded by the public as previous cut-off mark were never strictly followed by most institutions. The institutions were going behind to admit candidates with far less with others admitting candidates who never sat for JAMB.
“Unfortunately, the public has been kept away from this fact for such a long time and now that we are saying it the way it is and working to address it, the public is criticising us using non-existing paremetres that were only announced and not followed.”