JAMB backs University of Lagos (UNILAG) on new cut-off point

Notwithstanding protests and criticisms that have characterised University of Lagos’s new cut-off point as opposed to the national benchmark of 180, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board ( JAMB), at the weekend, threw its weight behind the decision, stating that Nigerian universities must entrench global standards and ensure competitiveness.

The board explained that the decision to align with the institution’s new cut-off mark was to position Nigerian universities as the centres of excellence.

According to JAMB Head of Media and Information, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, the board “has reiterated that the national cut-off marks of 180 for universities and 150 for Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Innovative Enterprise institutions in the 2015 UTME was a bench mark to set the tone for 2015 admission exercise.
“The decision to have a national accepted cut-off mark at policy meeting was to serve as a guide and pruning mechanism to give the tertiary institutions qualitative and manageable candidates to choose from a pool of candidates desirous of tertiary education.”
He stressed that “universities and other levels of tertiary institutions are at liberty to go higher, but not lower, depending on their peculiarities and the performance of candidates that choose them.
“Universities are centres of excellence anywhere in the world and ours should not be an exception. The policy witnessed in University of Lagos is aimed at ensuring that our universities admit only the top best as done globally.
Benjamin stated that “JAMB is working round the clock to ensure that Nigerian universities are among the best in Africa and perhaps the world in the next ranking and to also utilise the available spaces and admit more candidates bearing in mind the admission criteria of various needy institution.
“The board wishes to state that no candidate would be denied any right to aspire to tertiary education even as it is aware that some universities have their own admission cut-off marks acceptable by the board for courses they offered. Please be informed that the board ensures that this institutions apply this cut off marks uniformly across all candidates without discrimination.

“The decision of the board on the print-out for this year exercise was done in good faith not to jeopardise the right of candidate due to individual cut-off set by some Nigerian tertiary institution.”
On the way forward, Benjamin said: “Those candidates who do not meet the cut-off marks of such institutions will be placed in needy institutions within their geopolitical zone depending on available space in such institutions.
“The board’s aim is to accommodate as many candidates as possible instead of just pushing them to schools we know ab initio doesn’t have the carrying capacity to admit all.”

“For instance University of Lagos with a carrying capacity of about 9,000, has over 60,000 applying to them. The question is what happens to the over 50,000? We have other institutions like that and what we are doing is to ensure that the balance are also place in other needy institutions.”

He maintained that “sequel to this development, the board has redistributed the other candidates who has cut-off marks less than what their first choice required to needy institutions and urge candidates and parent to check the board’s website from Friday, July 31, 2015 for their names and institutions they are placed in.

“Candidates are to note that the policy is only meant to ensure that every candidate with a reasonable score of 180 and above is placed somewhere in a needy institutions that may need them.

“Nigerians are also urged to please believe in the board as continually it strive to give the entire education system the best.

“We are not comfortable with the large number of candidates that year in year out sit for the board’s matriculation examination without being admitted. It’s the believe of the board that this policy will address the shortfall and accommodate more.”
Credit: Paul Obi/ThisDay