By Gabriel Chy Alonta
Following the release of 2019 University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) cut-off marks for tertiary institutions by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), different reactions have continued to trail the development.
Orient Education recalls that key stakeholders in federal universities across the country, on Tuesday, pegged 160 as the minimum bench mark for admission of candidates for the 2019/2020 academic year. They also agreed that all states and private universities would peg minimum admission benchmark on 140 and above.
According to the stakeholders, the minimum UTME score for candidates for public polytechnics should be 120 and above; while that of their private poly counterparts was pegged at 110 and above. The minimum cut-off mark for colleges of education was also agreed on 110 and above.
The decision, announced by the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, was reached at the 19th policy meeting on admissions to tertiary institutions in Nigeria, held in Gbongan, Osun state, last week.
Reacting, a former dean, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state, Prof. Charles Egolum, said such development was a sign of falling standard of education in Nigeria, while blaming the practice of quota system as a contributory factor to such degeneration.
Egolum, who said that poor performances of the northern counterparts may have induced such decision, regretted that mediocrity was celebrated over excellence or hard work, which, to him, was quite unfortunate for the country.
“There could be no solution now, especially when the country does not want to talk about merit and I don’t think it is in the offing. That is why we talk about regional autonomy, so that there will be more competition, and regions develop at their own pace”, he said.
Noting that such decision was not laudable, he, however, opined that such candidates, if admitted into the university, could be challenged to do better by their mates in the same school.
Also reacting, the Rector, Nation Builders College of Technology, Asaba, Dr. Williams Obiozor, lamented that the standard of educated is diminishing because of the northerners, who fail to embrace western education.
Obiozor, said northerners should embrace western education in order to compete favourably with their counterparts at the same level, stressing that it was pathetic that education system is being killed because of some section of the country.
The rector, who described development as ‘a political move’, advised that instead of politicising education, programmes should be developed that could help improve their literacy level.
“It is high time we orgainsed our education sector to suit everybody, by having a uniform standard for teaching, examination and for admission. We can do because we have brilliant men and women in the northern part of Nigeria, but they are not empowered to embrace western education the way it is supposed. Lowering the UTME cut-off mark to suit them is not the best and should be discouraged”, he said.
“I remember when it was 200, and later 180 and now 160; it is an indication that we are not doing our jobs. What do we do about students, who scored 300 and above, how do we encourage them?
“If those who scored 260 and 110 gain the same admission, are we encouraging hard work? I don’t think we are encouraging them. Pegging UTME cut-off too low, means that the children are not learning”, she said.
Chiekezie, said such development was not for national good neither will it impact positively to the future of generation yet unborn.
On his part, the former ASUP chairman, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Comrade Godson Okeoma, alleged that JAMB have always been making such ridiculous low cut -ff mark just for their children and wards, remarking that it was never at the interest of Nigerians.
Okeoma, a principal lecturer at Federal Polytechnic, Oko, however expressed optimism that his institution will admit the most qualified candidates based on 150 cut-off, not with withstanding the 120 cut-off pegged by JAMB for public polytechnics.
“I don’t think they are going to derail now. We know that there is a steady decline in the standard of education because it has not been given the attention it required, and whatever be the case, we will see where this lands us”, he added.