JAMB: KILLING THE EDUCATION WITH THE RECENT REDUCTION OF CUT OFF MARKS

The highest examination body in Nigeria known as Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) is once more in the news! Not because of revenue as it was before or because of addition of billions .Today, they are in news because of cut off marks! Mixed reactions on Wednesday trailed the decision of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), to peg the minimum cut-off mark for admissions into universities at 120!

A lot of people had called this travesty and appalling. In a nation that is trying to up her game in Science , Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. Lowering of the score has been seen as an escapist approach to daunting task. Stakeholders have seen this as a way of encouraging mediocrity and ineptitude.

“This is coming when a lot of political heavyweights in the country has no qualifications and a lot of celebrity are school drop out. Youths today need not to look far for role models. The era of wanting to be like Achebe,Soyinka and others are writing and the culture of ineptitude encouraged as it seems “, said Obinna Nwaka, a Nigeria professional that decried the recent Announcement.

“As an employer, I know what it means to recruit qualified candidates. Recruiting qualified candidates is becoming extinct. We have to do with poorly baked graduates and retain them before we can allow them work with us. Now, JAMB is lowering their standards. JAMB is the only salvage for university admission and they have been doing great apart from this policy of 180/ 400 … it is not up to half. I had 210 in my first JAMB in 90s yet I was not given admission, I had to go back home and read for the next year. University admission is not a walk in a park thing. This we must let today’s youths understand and appreciate not giving them soft landing. Nobody gave it to us, WAEC was mean and JAMB was meaner during our times.

Maybe is high time we started looking elsewhere for labour force . This is worry some and the academic qualifications of Nigerian University will be questioned, unlike other countries. I wonder who advised them to Lowe their standards “, queried Funmi Ojo, an entrepreneur.

Mrs Adekemi Jegede, Headmistress, Methodist Elementary School, Oke-Omi, Osun, State noted that the reduction of the cut-off marks would only worsen academic performance in tertiary institutions.

 

In the eighties and nineties, having 210 in JAMB exams isn’t even guarantee that one will gain admission. That was when education was education. West African Examination Council (WAEC) held sway and was the king. You must pass through them . Today, the young lads have a lot of options like NECO,NABTEB etc and also scoring barely 180 out of 400 to gain admission.

Other countries  of the world are raising their bars and making their education innovative and competitive but as it stands today, Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria isn’t bothered about this. But, mind you, some countries do not have a central examination body that caters for the university admission but they have demonstrated that they can impact on the students with high quality education. Can we say this of Nigeria? As of this time of report, the Academic Staff Union of University ( ASUU) are on strike, these are the lectrers! their strikes have affected the quality of education, JAMB serves as a clearing house for university intake and it is expected of them to keep raising their bars annually not lowering them . This announcement by JAMB has left many parents and educationists wondering what is the intention of the policy and what will JAMB achieve?

Not everybody must attend higher institutions, even in the Western economies, university and college isn’t meant for everybody, people are encouraged to learn soft skills and basic entrepreneurship. This method has proven to have worked in countries like China, USA and others. The need to de- emphasise paper certificate for skills acquisition is imperative.

 

Anthony Emeka Nwosu

 

 

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