UTME cut-off marks: JAMB speaks again


Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, JAMB Registrar

By Funmilayo Adeyemi

The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) on Monday said there is no uniform minimum national Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) score for any of the tiers of tertiary institutions and neither does JAMB decide any such requirement for any institution.

The board made this known in Abuja on Monday by the board Head, Public Affairs and Protocol, Dr Fabian Benjamin.

Benjamin said the board did not and had never determined any uniform national UTME scores otherwise known as cut-off mark by the general public for any tertiary institution.

“The lucid process of admission which the former President of the Academic Staff Union of University, Prof. Nasir Fagge, expounded and which was published in Premium Times is the exact process being followed in the conduct of admission exercise to tertiary institutions.

“This process has even been improved upon with the elimination of human interference through its full automation with the introduction of the Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS).

“For the purpose of emphasis, the board conducts the UTME and hands over the results to institutions for the conduct of admissions,” he said.

He further said that before the admission exercise would commence, a policy meeting was usually held with all the Heads of the Institutions in attendance and chaired by the Minister of Education.

According to him, at this meeting, the admission guidelines, which include recommendations from individual institutions and their preferred minimum admission scores, are presented and deliberated upon and not JAMB.

“Prior to the meeting, for instance, more than 50 per cent of the universities had submitted in writing their minimum scores of 200 and above to the board for presentation to the meeting for the purpose of deliberation.

“The same applied for the other tiers of tertiary institutions.

“The implication of this process is that no institution will be able to admit any candidate with any score below what they had submitted as their minimum score,” he said.

He, however, said there was nothing like a national minimum UTME score for all universities, polytechnics or colleges of education as it was only individual institutions which set their minimum entry scores based on their peculiarities.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that JAMB in September 2021 cancelled general cut-off marks for entrance into tertiary institutions, allowing the schools to set their minimum benchmarks.

Benjamin also said that the board had no role whatsoever in the decision of the institutions to determine how or with what criteria they want to admit.

“The role of the board is to ensure that the goalpost is not shifted in the middle of the game.

“Furthermore, in most cases, the UTME score is not the sole determinant of placement of candidates into tertiary institutions.

“As such, the undue attention to the so-called national minimum UTME score is a major conception of many ill-informed candidates who assumed that they have finally attained the benchmark having achieved the so-called minimum national score or “cut-off point’ for admission.

“It is, therefore, a double jeopardy for many candidates who subscribed to the popular myth of a uniform UTME score (cut-off) for all universities, polytechnics or colleges of education in Nigeria,” it said.

He said the board did not give uniform minimum UTME score (cut-off) for all universities, polytechnics or colleges of education.

This, he added, was because each institution determined and summited to JAMB its minimum UTME score after analysing the UTME scores of its applicants against its available quota.

He said decisions at the annual policy meeting on admission did not reduce minimum prescriptions emanating from the institutions except in few situations where these institutions had submitted minimum UTME scores that fell below what the policy meeting considered as the acceptable minimum score.

“It should, therefore, be noted that UTME score is just one of the two or three scores that are generally cumulated to obtain the eventual aggregate score and ranking of the candidates by most institutions.

“Other parameters are Post-UTME/Post-A/L qualifications screening test score; O/L grade score; and in some cases, physical test (such as applicable in the Nigerian Defence Academy/Police Academy).

“Therefore, it is the score from all these segments that are added together to have an eventual ranking table or “cut-off” score,” it said.

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