2019 JAMB Cut-Off Mark, the Critics and the Reality
Written by Ibraheem Sikiru
Published on 6/25/2019 9:42:28 PM
The cut-off mark for the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) has been pegged to 160 mark by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). The score was being critically condemned by the public, considering that the score is too low for students to be admitted into the University System. Despite the critics, JAMB has insisted to maintained her agreed cut-off mark for the 2019/2020 admission year. Is the JAMB's really killing the educational system? Are the public's critics well targeted? What are the realities? These and more are what we will be discussing in this article.
Concerned Public and the University community have immediately commenced attacking the JAMB for choosing her admission cut-off mark on the average performance of the candidates rather than the expectancy. They claimed that JAMB is encouraging admissions of poor candidates into the higher institutions and hence immensely contributing to the detriment of the educational sector in the country.
The public and the community of institutions believed that JAMB should have chosen average expectancy mark of 200 of the 400 total JAMB score as cut-off into the universities while Polytechnics, Colleges of Educations and other certificate awarding institutions could be given lower cut-off marks. Despite the outcries,JAMB has remained unconcerned and not showing interest of withdrawing her decision on the cut-off marks.
Addressing the public outcries and the condemnations from the higher academic institutions, firstly, let us settle some questions. Does the public really understand the principle of JAMB, admissions and the relationships between JAMB, Candidates and the Institutions?
On failure, should JAMB be held responsible?
Is our Academic institutions respecting JAMB?
Then, why the agitations?
The Principle of JAMB is not to set her questions against a specific performance culture, the role of the board is to conduct an examination, study and analyze the performance by the candidates, develop a selection system that will solve the problem given to the board.
In fact, let us ask a question, had it been the board had a culture, why does she has to be holding board meeting after each examination session to arrive at a cut-off mark? The board is doing so to test run flexibility, adaptability and reliability of her proffer solutions to the given problem.
Let us, first, understand the problem given to the board. The problem is simple, each higher institution has specific capacity in the number of the maximum students she could hold for a peaceful, smooth and conducive educational environment. Each higher institution considers the number of her graduating students, the crossed, dropped-out and rusticated students. She then subtracts the current total number of students on her campus from the maximum number of students she could hold. The margin is the admission capacity for such higher institution at the next admission year. Each higher institution would then submit her admission capacity for the next academic calendar to the JAMB as a problem from that school.
The responsibility of the JAMB starts by summing the admission capacity of all the higher institutions that have shown interest in taking new students for the next academic calendar. Let us call this value, CUMULATIVE ADMISSION CAPACITY for the country.
Now, the basic problem given to the JAMB is to conduct an examination system, not to pass or fail candidate but to select candidates that are optimum for feeling the CUMULATIVE ADMISSION CAPACITY or spaces existing in the higher institutions across the nation.
Understanding the JAMB Principle
JAMB has no might. JAMB has no superiority over her employers, the Nigerian Higher Institutions. Hence, her activity is to get a great job done as par every contractor. However, the owner stands the right to re-award the same contract to another contractor for the assurance of credibility and standardization.
For the JAMB to get a great job done, the board performs an holistic analysis of the percentage of the candidates that stands chances of gaining admission per different cut-off marks as objects.
Mathematically, what JAMB does before arriving at a cut-off mark is as explained below. Recall that this values are assumptions
In year 20AT, the CUMULATIVE ADMISSION CAPACITY for Nigeria is 2,000,000 and the total number of candidates that registered for JAMB is 5,000,000. JAMB conducts her examination and the following range of scores were recorded after an holistic analysis of the students' performances in the examination. 0-49: 20,000
200-400: 445,000 Going by the above statistics, if JAMB set a cut-off mark of 200 minimum score, only 445,000 candidates would be available to fill the vacant admission slots of 2 million. Hence, the problem is not yet solved because there is not competition in the present of deficit.
Should JAMB set cut-off mark of 150 and above marks, this implies that 995,000 candidates will be available to fill the 2 million available admission slots for the 20AT admission year. There is no doubt, this problem is not yet solved because there is not competition in the present of deficit.
if the cut-off mark set to 150, this implies that 2,445,000 candidates are available for filling the available 2 million admission slots in the higher institutions. With this, optimum solution could be said to have been reached thus there is no deficit and the competition is not wide.
Therefore, the JAMB can then come up with the National Cut-Off mark of 150 for the University and go below for the Polytechnics, the Colleges of Education and other certificate awarding institutions.
Now, let us discuss the reality at hand. According to Prof. Isiaq Oloyede, Registrar of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, the National Cumulative Admission Capacity is more than One Million (1,000,000) candidates and should the board chose 200 as the cut-off mark, only 400,000 candidates will be available to compete for the One Million admission slots. This will create deficit of 600,000, no competition, no further selection and that may widely affect the academic performances of various institutions.
Considering the above fact, there is no doubt that some institutions in the country will not even get a candidate for the admission year.
On failure, should JAMB be held responsible?
On the massive failure by the candidates sitting for JAMB, whose fault? Are we to blame JAMB? The high schools? Governments? Parents? Or the students, themselves?
Are we saying JAMB should not set questions that meet standards any more? Are we saying with anything less, in term of questions, these students will pass like they have not been done? What are the parents doing to improve their wards academically? What are the governments doing? What are the inputs by the students themselves?
We should rather call a spade by name and stop beating about the bush. JAMB has nothing to gain or lose, should all the candidates scored zero (0) or 400 of 400.
Is our Academic institutions respecting JAMB?
The most distorting noises are those coming from the higher institutions. While JAMB has done its part, it is generally understood that admission into the higher institutions in Nigeria is a process. It starts somewhere and ends at the point of receiving matriculation number or day of being matriculated.
The Higher Institutions, despite the selection by the JAMB, will still conduct POST-UTME to make the system more generic and clear of doubt. The most unfortunate is that mostly, average students who are included into the probation list for admission, meaning those that scored grace mark of 160-220, later turn out to be of great performances in the POST-UTME. In fact, their percentage in the successfully admitted candidates list is greater than that of those that scored above 250 in JAMB.
If Higher Institutions still have a way of deweeding the selected list of candidates given to them by the contracted JAMB, there is no cause for the criticism and are highly unnecessary.
One fact about the admission processes is that the country do not have enough academic facilities to accommodate the OPTIMUM CUMULATIVE ADMISSION CAPACITY of the institutions and mostly, to guaranty educational security to her citizens.
The reality is that every candidate who sit for successfully register under JAMB and either sit or not for UTME is qualified to be admitted into higher institution in Nigeria.
UTME, POST-UTME and the likes are just tools being used by the government to ensure an optimal, conducive and serene academic by the existing undergraduates, the freshers and efficient use of the available minimum resources.
If the principle of the JAMB admission processes is in line with aim of finding optimum solution to the problem at hand and that the institutions has no respect for the board. In collaboration with the dilapidated educational system from the basic through middle and high schools which amount to the massive failure of the students, then, why the agitations against the JAMB?