Vice-chancellors, Lecturers, Others Argue Reduction of JAMB Cut-off Marks to 140

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CBN

Interested parties in the education sector have expressed mixed reactions to the recent lowering of the Universal Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) cut-off marks for admission seekers into the tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

They made their positions known in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Osogbo, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Ado-Ekiti, Akure and Ilorin on Sunday.

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While some described the development as a sign of setback for the nation’s educational development, others said that lowering of the cut-off marks was good news for admission seekers.

In his views, Adebayo Obadiora, acting head of department, arts and social sciences, Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife in Osun, said that lowering the UTME cut-off marks would jeopardise the standard of education in Nigeria.

Obadiora said that the decision of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) to adopt 140 as the minimum cut-off marks for degree awarding institutions for the 2022/2023 admission process was not good enough.

He said a student who cannot score 200 out of 400 marks in UTM may find it difficult to excel when admitted.

“One hundred and forty out of 400 is 35 per cent at ‘O’ level result. This is F9 and any student who scores F9 in cogent subjects like English Language or Mathematics cannot gain admission to the university with such a result,” he said.

Mr Obadiora said that such students, when admitted, would not be able to cope with their mates and would end up having to resit their papers.

The don said that federal universities were still finding it hard to accommodate many of the candidates, even at the cut-off marks of 200 and above, much less now that it was dropped to 140.

He, therefore, appealed to JAMB to dialogue with the authorities of universities and other professionals in order to be advised accordingly on admission scores.

This, he said, would make the nation’s graduates to be able to compete with their counterparts globally.

Also, Olugbenga Ehinola, head of geology department, University of Ibadan, Oyo, said that the continuous lowering of UTME cut-off marks would, definitely, affect the quality of applicants being offered admission into the federal universities.

“It only encourages applicants, whose parents are wealthy to patronise private universities and this may affect standardisation of admission,” Mr Ehinola said.

Contrarily, Clement Kolawole of the department of education, University of Ibadan, said there would be no serious implication.

“It was what the agency considered to be realistic,” Mr Kolawole said.

In his views, Adams Onuka, a retired professor of education evaluation, said the decision indicated that the teaching and learning processes in our schools had been ineffective.

This, Mr Onuka said, could be due to some intervening factors that were likely to be multifarious, but including family, social, school, funding factors, amongst others.

“The immediate implication is that our school system is not living up to expectations in the production of future leaders for the nation; as garbage in equals garbage out.

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“It means that we are feeding the tertiary education system with ill-prepared inputs and the outputs would, therefore, be half-baked.

“It’s not the duty of the tertiary education system to prepare learners for the primary and secondary education system, which are the foundation for the tertiary education system.

“This trend, if not arrested, will likely lead to the collapse of the entire education system, leadership development process and societal development as a whole,” Mr Onuka said.

The don said that the situation could also lead to greater exodus of youths to other climes and further depreciated the Naira, as a result of higher rate of capital flight.

“Thus, all hands must be on the deck to address the abnormality with immediate effect.

“In fact, we need to declare a state of emergency in the education sector.

“We must fund it and carry out research, so that innovative measures and remedies can be evolved to bring our education system back on track.

“Needs assessment of the sector, in terms of quality of teachers at the primary and secondary subsystems, infrastructure and facilities, management and governance, as well as teaching and learning interactions and parental responsibilities, should be immediately done before any other process is carried out.

“This is to properly evolve lasting and enduring solutions to this unexpected outcome in the education system,” he said.

In Abeokuta, Oluwagbenga Adeleye, the chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University of Agriculture, expressed concern over the matter, warning that the trend would ultimately destroy the education system in the country.

Mr Adeleye, who lectures at the department of animal production and health, said that the standard of education at the tertiary level would continue to dwindle with such a policy.

He said that such policy would also continue to encourage mediocrity, with the tertiary institutions producing half-baked graduates with serious consequences upon the nation’s economy and future.

“I don’t see any sense in lowering the cut-off marks, because there is no practical sense in it.

“I don’t know why the administration handling JAMB is bent on reducing the cut-off marks annually and destroying the lives of students.

“Are we saying that hard work doesn’t matter these days? These days, some students cannot even express themselves or write fairly well, and one wonders how they got into the tertiary institution.

“We have destroyed values, morals and hard work and we need to go back to where we are coming from.

“Some students, who are supposed to be in technical schools, are finding their ways into the universities.

“It is not that technical schools are not good; they have their own advantages, because they help to fix students into places where they are best fitted for the purpose of further grooming,” he said.

Mr Adeleye explained that serious students would continue to seek for quality education abroad as the standard and quality of education continue to dwindle in the country.

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