The decision by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board to peg admission cut-off mark at 120 for universities and 100 for polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education, has generated reactions from some Vice-Chancellors and the Academic Staff Union.
ASUU said the action, which it described as a “sad policy decision,” was in tandem “with the dream of the present government to destroy public universities in the country.”
Most vice-chancellors maintained that they would not lower admission standards in their respective varsities, as it would add no value to the nation’s university system.
In a statement issued by the Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, on the issue and released by his Media Assistant, Mr. Sunday Saanu, on Thursday, the premier university stated that it would never admit any candidate that scored 120 in the UTME.
The statement added, “It should worry us as patriots that candidates who scored just 30 per cent in the UTME can be admitted into some of our universities. Yet, we complain of poor quality of our graduates. You can hardly build something on nothing. The consolation here is that since JAMB started conducting this qualifying exam in 1978, UI has never admitted any candidate who scored less than 200 marks out of the maximum 400 marks.
“This translates to a minimum of 50 per cent. This remains our position as an institution aspiring to be world-class. Reality is that only about four other universities in the country have such high standard. To that extent, apart from being the oldest, we are an elite university in the country at least judging by the quality of our intakes.’’
Olayinka, however, commended the decision of the Federal Government to re-introduce the post-UTME test and exonerated the incumbent JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, from the cancellation of the test two sessions ago.
“It is gratifying to note that the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who chaired the meeting, apologised publicly for canceling the post-UTME screening last year.
“In effect, universities are now allowed to conduct the test using modalities approved by the Senate of each institution.
“To be fair to the incumbent Registrar of JAMB, he was not the Registrar when the policy somersault of cancelling the post-UTME test was made last year. As strongly canvassed by us at every opportunity, for UI, the need to admit the best admission seekers is the primary motivation for the test and not money, even though we do not pretend that you can run any university so properly called without funds.”
Speaking to one of our correspondents on Thursday, the Vice-Chancellor, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State, Prof. Oluyemisi Obilade, said that the onus would ultimately fall on parents and employers of labour to decide “between a first-class graduate of a university which takes 120 as its cut-off mark or one that takes 180 as its cut-off mark.’’
Obilade, who said that TASUED would never go below 180, insisted that many of the VCs at the Combined Policy Meeting during which the 120 benchmark decision was made, said they would not go below 180.
She said, “But some universities chose 120 at the meeting. What the JAMB has done is to transfer power back to the Senate of universities to decide their cut-off marks. What I can tell you is that many public universities and even private universities will not go below 200. We were told that some universities were doing what they called ‘under the table admission’ and then come back to JAMB after four years for regularisation.
“TASUED will not go below 180, not under my watch. Even in the United States, there is what we call Ivy League universities, and there are those you can call ‘Next Level Universities.’ There are also those that are termed community colleges. At the meeting, the outcome is that universities have been given the freedom to decide. It is not general legislation and it is not binding on everybody.’’
Speaking with journalists in Ibadan, the Chairman of ASUU at the University of Ibadan, Dr. Deji Omole, said it was the dream of the present government to destroy education in the country.
He said, “Rather than sanctioning the identified universities that admitted over 17,000 students illegally, the JAMB registrar simply regularised illegality and lowered cut-off marks to favour the interests of the friends of government who own private universities and are hell bent on destroying public education.”
Omole said it was vital for JAMB to be scrapped in order to save the nation’s education and its future. He said the board had outlived its usefulness and that prospective students should apply directly to universities of their choice for admission.
He said, “Where are the students that the JAMB registrar said entered universities illegally? Which universities admitted them? If 30 per cent did not take JAMB and found their way into the university system, is that not corruption and a message that JAMB is not significant anymore? What sanction did those who did the illegal thing receive other than regularisation of illegality.
“We are watching because long before now we have said that JAMB has outlived its usefulness. Let the universities set their unique standards and those who are qualified can come in. Scoring 120 out of 400 marks is 30 per cent. Even in those days, 40 per cent was graded as pass. But now JAMB said with F9 which is scoring 30 per cent you can be admitted.
“They deliberately want to destroy education. Even for polytechnic, 100 marks is 25 per cent. It is sad. And that is where we are in Nigeria. They want to destroy public education at all costs. This is not setting standard for education in Nigeria. It is purely lowering standards and digging grave for the future. This is why ASUU is currently on the struggle to influence the government to do the needful for education in Nigeria.”
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