The House of Representatives has condemned the decision of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) to lower the cut-off marks for admission into universities and polytechnics.
The House, therefore, mandated its Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to investigate the circumstances that led to the reduction in the cut-off marks required for admissions of candidates into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
The committee was given four weeks to report back to the House for further legislative action.
The decision of the House was subsequent to the adoption of a motion on the need to investigate the reduction in the cut-off marks for admissions into tertiary institutions in Nigeria”, sponsored by a member, Hassan Saleh.
Recall that the Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede announced that a minimum of 120 marks in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) would be required for placement of candidates into the Universities, while 100 marks would be required for placement into Polytechnics or Colleges of Education.
The announcement followed the August 22 policy meeting between the Registrar of JAMB, the heads of tertiary institutions and other stake holders held on modalities for the conduct of admissions into tertiary institutions for the 2017/2018 academic session.
Leading the debate on the motion, Hon. Saleh expressed worry, that the new policy was bound to lower the standard and quality of education in tertiary institutions in the country as many candidates who performed poorly in the UMTE examination, “could secure admissions through nepotism, bribery and corruption while many other candidates who perform excellently could be denied admissions”.
“Despite the fact that more than 500,000 candidates scored above 200 marks which represents 50 percent of the total mark, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board still went ahead to announce a 120 cut-off mark which represents only 30 percent of the total examination mark of 400, while 100 marks stipulated for polytechnics and Colleges of Education represent only 25 percent of the total mark” he added.
But disagreeing with the sponsor of the motion, another member, Ahmed Pategi, said the decision taken by JAMB was in order.
Pategi argued that not are stakeholders in tertiary education in unison with JAMB on the new policy, he said it was unfair deny a child admission into a higher institutions simply based on his/her UTME score even after eleven years of basic education, even when he made five credit pass, including credits in English Language and Mathematics.
But Pategi was alone as others members took turns to call for a reversal of the policy, saying universities are supposed to be centres of excellence for learning, research and innovation. Hence, the need to always admit the best candidates in order to produce graduates that can compete favorably with their peers anywhere in the world.
Afe Oluwookere, described the newly introduced policy as highly detrimental to the country’s push for economic growth and development.