JAMB’s disheartening cut-off mark


Even the least informed Nigerian is
aware of the decision by the Joint
Admissions and Matriculation Board ,
on Tuesday , to drastically reduce its
admission cut- off marks for
universities and polytechnics at 120
and 100 over 400 respectively.
Expectedly, the decision was greeted
by understandable huge criticisms . The
type capable of forcing the
management of the establishment to
reverse its decision, if only it considers
the critics for a twinkle of an eye .
Virtually everyone on social media is
talking about JAMB ; telling sorry tales
of how they scored more than times
two of the new cut - off marks and yet
were denied admission in the not too
recent past . Whether their claims are
sincere or otherwise, the truth is the
JAMB of old is far better than today ’s .
If the experience of not a few Nigeria
is anything to go by, it is no longer
efficient compared to what obtained
in the past .
Even though JAMB Registrar , Prof .
Ishaq Oloyede, was much praised for
remitting billions of naira into the
federation account , recently, the latest
cut- off mark decision is seen by many
stakeholders and concerned citizens as
a pollution to his earlier achievements .
At least , the revenue generated from
the sale of admission forms to over a
million desperate admission seeking
candidates by the body is not what
matters but its efficiency and impact
on the society .
After all said , the question that keeps
troubling my mind is , What is the big
deal in JAMB “ stooping so low ” to
make its cut - off marks ? With the
current reality in Nigeria , why should
we be surprised JAMB peg cut - off
marks to a quota lesser than average?
Why the public show of
disappointment and sympathy for our
educational failure ?
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o be frank , the decision is a pointer
to the fact that we abhor (academic )
excellence. For truly , 120 / 400 is
nothing but outright failure . But , is the
cut- off mark even useful , after all?
The sad case where admission in
Nigeria is a matter of whom you know
— your connection — and not what
you know — your JAMB score —
readily comes to mind while reflecting
on the new cut - off marks .
Before now when 180 - 200 was the cut -
off for varsities , one still remained
puzzled about how those with high
scores were not considered for
admission, on merit, at least .
The decision indirectly tells Nigerians
that hard work, academic excellence
and brilliance are no longer
appreciated since another unsporting
means has been deployed in securing
admission.
JAMB scores have been so relegated
that getting to know professors in the
department of your choice gives you
greater chance of being admitted than
a brilliant chap with double of your its
score.
Since manipulation , corruption, “ padi -
padi” , nepotism , pecuniary influences,
among others are the chief
determinants of admission in Nigeria,
I see no big deal in the new cut - offs.
Even if the cut- off marks were high or
low , it is of little use , after all.
Even a candidate with 120 who knows
a least influential employee in the
varsity of choice could be considered
for admission over a prodigy with 270 .
That is the reason I attach little or no
value to JAMB or varsity cut - off marks
any longer. That , unfortunately, has
been the experience of many a
Nigerian admission seeker . To many,
those cut - off marks are as useless as
the P in psychology.
This exposition is in no way an
approach to justify or encourage
manipulation in admission processes .
Corruption in admission lingers since
no approach has been made to curb it.
Virtually everyone is involved in it.
Vice- Chancellors , registrars , lecturers
and others . Since gaining admission
into a university is generally an
extraordinary difficulty , all measures ,
legal or extra - legal, have been
deployed by our people to ensure
gaining entrance . That is our collective
reality. And until something is done
about this, the rigmarole continues
and the JAMB cut- off remains ever
helpless.
The “ Nigerian factor ” in admission
processes should be the matter that
must be urgently addressed in order to
make meaning of cut - off points in
general . At least , the side effect of the
manipulated admission processes can
never be overemphasised.
The tragedy of our educational system
is a complex one. And the joke is in all
of us.

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