Examinations are a process of assessing the amount of learning an individual has achieved over a period of time. In many cases, it determines if students are qualified to proceed to another stage of learning. When required marks to move from one level to another are reduced, it implies the bar is being lowered.
In this article we would be looking at the Reasons Jamb cut off mark is low.
The lowering of the cut-off marks for admission into universities and other higher institutions in Nigeria poses a threat to education in the country as it reflects falling standards in the sector, some stakeholders have said.
This was why it came as a shock to many people when Adamu Adamu, minister of education, announced last month that the minimum cut-off mark for university admission this year is 140, while that of polytechnics and colleges of education were pegged at 100.
Ishaq Oloyede, registrar and chief executive of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), revealed after the policy meeting on admissions in Abuja that the implication of the resolution was that every institution had the right to fix its own cut-off mark, even up to 220.
Oloyede said only 378,639 of the 1,761,338 candidates who sat for the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) scored 200 and above (the previous cut-off mark).
For the university admission year 2022/2023, JAMB drew the cut-off marks below what was usually obtainable. It set the benchmark at 140 for the universities.
Busayo Aderonmu, a senior lecturer at Covenant University, Ota in Ogun State, sees the lowering of the bar as a bad omen for the education system.
She said: “If we look at the 140 cut-off mark, which is 35 percent of the total score on grade, it is F. A pass mark of E starts from 45 percent. This implies that we are devaluing the education standard by approving a 35 percent score for admission into tertiary institutions.
“This will water down our education, put more pressure on lecturers while trying to impart knowledge, and may also result in producing graduates that are not competent in handling economic issues because we may end up bringing down the pass mark for each course/subject when the students perform below expectation.”
According to Aderonmu, universities cannot cope with the existing backlogs.
She said COVID-19 had its effect on the education system, adding that the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other economic issues contributed to altering the school calendar.
To Nasir Fagge, a former president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), there is a need for a review of the law establishing the JAMB.
According to him, the idea of allowing the examination body to decide general cut-off marks for the country’s tertiary institution must be jettisoned, if the system is to achieve its mandate.
“This is one of the things we have been engaging the government on, in the past. Where in the world will you have a particular outfit to determine what is best for institutions of learning in terms of admission?
“The practice is foreign to university autonomy.
“The job of the board should end with conducting the examination. All it has to do thereafter is to collate the results and handover to the respective institutions of higher learning, to decide what they want.
“These institutions will then form a committee that will do other checks, come to an agreement and then hand it over to the Senate for final decision.
“The act of deciding who is admitted into any university, for instance, should lie solely with the Senates of the various universities.
“They should be able to look at the general performance of the candidates and determine where to peg their cut-off marks and not JAMB.
“In my opinion, I dare say that this sort of practice by the examination body does not encourage merit and capacity,” the unionist said (NAN).
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