JAMB: The ABC of Admission Cut-off Mark

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JAMB Cut-off Mark


It became sensational recently that JAMB has reduced cut-off mark for admission into tertiary institutions to 120 for universities and 100 for poly/mono-technics.

At the root of media misinformation is the competition for readers’ attention in order to boost adverts sales. I wish the majority of Nigerians, including elites, at the instance of controversial news about government policy would calmly seek proper understanding of the situation. More so, online platforms have relegated government’s information resources to mere reactant and propaganda machines.

Did JAMB Set Admission Standard for Tertiary Institutions?

The answer is NO! According to ‘Actors, Roles & Responsibilities’ section of the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS), it is clearly stated that – "institutions set admission criteria on the system." At the combined policy meeting held on August 21 & 22, 2017, JAMB Registrar, Prof Is-haq Oloyede submitted that "CAPS allows institutions to decide their own admissions parameter and have all the facts."

What is Cut-off Mark and Why 120 Over 400?

It is important to note that cut-off mark is not a score at which institutions must admit students on demand, rather it is the minimum, below which no admission could be offered. This implies that institutions are still at liberty to set their respective cut-off marks. Although 120 out of the total 400 marks sounds obviously ridiculous, Prof Oloyede revealed that several institutions have been offering admission to students without UTME or with less than declared minimum cut off mark.

Between Quality, Standard, Commercialization, and Politicization of Education in Nigeria

It’s become a drudgery, hearing of the falling standard of education, but indeed the standard is high while output quality has been on freefall relentlessly. Standard is about policy, curriculum and specification. Quality is about the products of the education system, which depends on myriads of factors, including the students themselves. The stage at which polity (case in quota system) and commerce (case in private institutions) impact standard and quality produces a heart-breaking inverse dichotomy. In this instance, quality of products from our senior secondary school system are drifting far lower than the set standard for admission and matriculation into tertiary institutions.

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By implication, prospective students who could not meet up to criteria set by the first generation institutions do approach less popular or privately established ones who would not mind lowering the criteria in exchange for either high fees or sheer patronage. These are the forces, compelling policy makers and stakeholders to succumb to more flexible requirements. Most of the institution bosses who were part of the policy summit at Abuja have been playing the ostrich. 120 over 400 is embarrassing, only the brave could come out and tell us "we subscribed to the policy."

Kudos to Reuben Abati and Prof Oluyemisi Obilade both of whom were at the meeting and wrote on the matter on different platforms.

Click here to read JAMB’s Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS) training slides. Click here to read JAMB Registrar’s presentation at the combined policy meeting. Click here to read TASUED VC, Prof Oluyemisi Obilade’s clarification on the cut-off mark issue – all in pdf format.


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3 comments on “JAMB: The ABC of Admission Cut-off Mark”

  1. Sola Reply

    Great!
    We are just going round a circle in this country, may God have mercy on us.
    4rm my stand point, there was no need 4 d reduction, cos dat will create another problem,. In no time 4rm now our polytechnics & colleges of education will be scanty & Sir I guess u know wat dat means at d long run.

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