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‘Varsities free to go beyond JAMB cut-off marks’

Dr. Fabian Benjamin

Dr. Fabian Benjamin

• ASUU kicks against policy on admission 

UNIVERSITIES and other tertiary institutions are at liberty to raise their admission marks, depending on their peculiarities and the performance of candidates that choose them, but cannot bring them lower than the national cut-off marks, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has said.

In a statement in Abuja , the JAMB Head of Media, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, said the policy, as is being practiced by the University of Lagos, aims to ensure that Nigerian universities admit only the top best, as done globally.

The board explained that it was working to ensure that the nation’s universities are among the best in Africa and “perhaps the world in the next ranking, and to also utilise the available spaces to admit more candidates, bearing in mind the admission criteria of various needy institutions.”

However, the University of Ibadan (UI) chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday opposed the recent policy, stating that JAMB, by such action, has made the admission process chaotic and is exposing candidates to fraudsters.

ASUU insisted that JAMB must respect candidates’ preferences and consider security of lives of candidates, cost, proximity, quality and rights of the Nigerian child in arriving at any policy.

Reacting to the policy, the UI ASUU Chairman, Prof. Segun Ajiboye, described the policy as insensitive and exploitative of the children of the poor, and amounts to abuse of their fundamental human rights to freedom of choice.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, and to probe the over N1 billion that would be generated from the purchase of scratch cards from the “unpopular policy,” as agents at JAMB offices “now sell it for N1,500 to candidates.”

Nevertheless, JAMB 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 were benchmarks for the 2015 admission exercise.

According to JAMB, “the nationally accepted cut-off mark is to serve as a guide and pruning mechanism to give the tertiary institutions qualitative and manageable candidates from a pool of candidates desirous of tertiary education.

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 offer. “Please be informed that the board ensures that these institutions apply these cut-off marks uniformly across all candidates without discrimination.”

It maintained that its decision on the printout for this year’s exercise was in good faith and not to jeopardise the right of candidates due to individual cut-off marks set by some tertiary institutions.

Therefore, “candidates who do not meet the cut-off marks of such institutions will be placed in needy institutions within their geo-political zone, depending on available space in such institutions. “The aim is to accommodate as many candidates as possible instead of just pushing them to schools we know ab initio do not have the carrying capacity to admit all.”

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