UTME crisis: JAMB defends UNILAG

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has defended the 250 cut-off mark set by the University of Lagos for students wishing to gain admission to the university.

According to JAMB, the decision of UNILAG was aimed at ensuring that Nigerian universities admit only the best candidates in line with international best practices.

JAMB said it was “aware that some universities have their own admission cut-off marks acceptable” by it (JAMB) for courses on offer.

The organisation, however, reiterated that the national cut-off mark of 180 for universities and the 150 cut-off mark for polytechnics, colleges of education and innovative enterprise institutions in the 2015 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination was a benchmark to set the tone for the 2015 admission exercise.

The spokesperson for JAMB, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, in a statement issued on Sunday, in Abuja, said the decision to have a nationally accepted cut-off mark was to serve as a guide and pruning mechanism to give tertiary institutions qualitative candidates to choose from.

He, however, said universities and other tertiary institutions were at liberty to go higher, but not lower, depending on their peculiarities and the performances of candidates that chose them.

Benjamin said the cut-off marks should be uniformly applied to all candidates based on existing admission criteria by the authorities of the institutions.

Benjamin said, “The policy in UNILAG is aimed at ensuring that our universities admit only the best as done globally. Please, be informed that JAMB ensures that these institutions apply these cut-off marks uniformly to all candidates without discrimination. The decision of JAMB for this year’s process was done in good faith and not to jeopardise the rights of candidates.

“Those candidates who do not meet the cut-off marks of such institutions will be placed in needy institutions within their geopolitical zone, depending on available space in such institutions. The aim is to accommodate as many candidates as possible, instead of just pushing them to schools we know do not have the carrying capacity to admit candidates.

“For instance, UNILAG with a carrying capacity of about 9,000 has over 60,000 applying to it. The question is: what happens to the over 50,000 students? We have other institutions like that and what we are doing is to ensure that the balance is also placed in other needy institutions.”

Benjamin said sequel to this development, JAMB has redistributed the other candidates with cut-off marks less than what their first choices required to needy institutions.

Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Ibadan chapter, has condemned the JAMB’s policy of reassigning candidates to other tertiary institutions other that their choices.

While reacting to the policy, the ASUU chairman in UI, Prof. Segun Ajiboye, described it as insensitive and exploitative of the children of the poor, adding that it amounted to an abuse of their fundamental human rights of freedom to choice.

The ASUU chairman said JAMB had made the admission process chaotic and exposed candidates to fraudsters, saying that JAMB must consider the security of lives of candidates and their rights before introducing any policy.

Ajiboye, who also called for the scrapping of JAMB, said the body had outlived its usefulness.

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