The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, 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 investigation followed a motion titled “Need to Investigate the Reduction in the Cut-Off Marks for Admissions into Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria”, moved at plenary by Hon. Hassan Saleh (Benue State, APC). Saleh in the motion reminded the House that while it was on annual recess, the JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede and other stakeholders lowered the entrance qualification grade into the nation’s higher institutions. He argued that the development was injurious to the country’s education standards.
According to him, “The House recalls that on 22 August, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the heads of tertiary institutions and other stakeholders held a policy meeting on plans and modalities for the conduct of admissions into tertiary institutions for the 2017/2018 academic sessions; “
Note that after the said meeting, the Registrar of JAMB, Professor Ishaq Oloyede announced that a minimum of 120 marks in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination would be required for placement of candidates into the Universities, while 100 marks would be required for placement into Polytechnics or Colleges of Education; “Also note that despite the fact that more than 500,000 candidates scored above 200 marks which represents 50% of the total mark, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board still went ahead to announce a 120 cut-off mark which represents only 30% of the total examination mark of 400, while 100 marks stipulated for Polytechnics and Colleges of Education represent only 25% of the total mark; “Concerned that the decision is bound to lower the standard/quality of education in tertiary institutions as many candidates who perform woefully in the UMTE examination could secure admissions through nepotism, bribery and corruption while many other candidates who performed excellently could be denied admissions; “Convinced that 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 favourably with their peers anywhere in the World.” Hon. Saleh added that, “Also convinced that tertiary education should be for those candidates who have the intellectual capacity, hence lowering the entry qualification into higher institutions of learning would definitely reduce the productivity and peak performance of young people seeking admissions into such institutions”. Supporting the motion, Hon. Akintola Taiwo (Oyo State, APC), said that lowering the admission score was a subtle way of encouraging idleness in the youth. He said: “We should further discourage the things that encourage idleness in our youths.” Also speaking, Hon.
Henry Archibong (Akwa Ibom, PDP) said that the decision was embarrassing to the country. “This has been an embarrassment in Nigeria. We are looking at the future leaders of tomorrow. If we have students who cannot pass exams, then what becomes of the future of the country. For me, JAMB has failed and I support the motion”, he said. corroborating their points, Hon. Chika Adamu from Niger State simply intoned “We don’t need to bastardize Nigeria’s education”. However, speaking against the motion, Hon. Aliyu Patigi (Kwara State, APC) called for caution, saying that there should be other yardsticks for admission into the tertiary institutions. “Stakeholders were called where the decision was taken. A lot of students get the minimum qualification of five credits. Because of 30 minutes exams, that child will be left at home after scoring As in (O-Level). Merit should not only be the yardsticks. There should be other indices”, he said. The committee has 4 weeks to conduct its investigation and report back to the House for further legislative action.