There is nothing like a uniform minimum national Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) score for any of the tiers of tertiary institutions and neither does the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board decide any such requirement for any institution.
The Board does not and has never determined any uniform national UTME scores otherwise known as cut-off mark by the general public for any tertiary institution because, in actual sense, there are no uniform national UTME scores.
The lucid process of admission which the former President of the Academic Staff Union of University, Prof. Nasir Fagge, expounded and which was published in Premium Times is the exact process being followed in the conduct of admission exercise to tertiary institutions in the country. This process has even been improved upon with the elimination of human interefence through its full automation with the introduction of the Central Admissions Processing system(CAPS).
For the purpose of emphasis, the Board conducts the UTME and hands over the results to institutions for the conduct of admissions. However, before the admission exercise commences a policy meeting is held with all the Heads of the Institutions in attendance and chaired by the Hon. Minister of Education. At this meeting, the admission guidelines, which include recommendations from individual institutions and their preferred minimum admission scores, are presented and deliberated upon at the meeting and not JAMB as erroneously portrayed by Prof. Fagge, because JAMB is only a member out of the close to about a thousand participants at the meeting.
Prior to the meeting, for instance, more than 50% of the universities had submitted in writing their minimum scores of 200 and above to the Board for presentation to the meeting for the purpose of deliberation. The same applied for the other tiers of tertiary institutions. The implication of this process is that no institution would be able to admit any candidate with any score below what they had submitted as their minimum score.
Perhaps, it is also apt to address the series of misconceptions as to what is generally described as “uniform minimum national UTME score” for admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria entails. For some time now, many candidates and some members of the general public have been under the erroneous impression that there is a minimum national UTME score set by the Board, which they also refer to as “cut-off point”. The truth is that there is nothing like a national minimum UTME score for all Universities, Polytechnics or Colleges of Education in Nigeria as it is only individual institutions which set their minimum entry scores based on their peculiarities.
The Board has no role whatsoever in the decision of the institutions to determine how or with what criteria they want to admit. The role of the Board is to ensure that the goalpost is not shifted in the middle of the game. Furthermore, in most cases, the UTME score is not the sole determinant of placement of candidates into tertiary institutions. As such, the undue attention to the so-called national minimum UTME score (UTME cut-off point) is a major conception of many ill-informed candidates who assumed that they have finally attained the benchmark having achieved the so-called minimum national score or “cut-off point’ for admission.
It is, therefore, a double jeopardy for many candidates who subscribed to the popular myth of a uniform UTME score (cut-off) for all Universities, Polytechnics or Colleges of Education in Nigeria.
The myth also incorporates the erroneous impression that it is only the UTME score that constitutes the benchmark for admission. This is far from the truth. Hence, such candidates on attainment of particular grades in the UTME celebrate in advance of their imminent placement in their institutions of choice, which in reality may not come to pass at the end of the day.
The Board, therefore, for the umpteenth time, is stating unequivocally that there is no uniform minimum UTME score (cut-off) for all Universities, Polytechnics or Colleges of Education in Nigeria because each institution determines and submits to JAMB its minimum UTME score after analysing the UTME scores of its applicants against its available quota. It should, therefore, be noted that decisions at the annual Policy Meeting on Admission does not reduce this minimum prescriptions emanating from the institutions except in the few situations where these institutions had submitted minimum UTME scores that fall below what the Policy Meeting considers as the acceptable minimum score. That is where the much-talked about 140 came from, which is but a baseline that no institution should cross.
It should, therefore, be noted that UTME score is just one of the two or three scores that are generally cumulated to obtain the eventual aggregate score and ranking of the candidates by most institutions. Other parameters are Post-UTME/Post-A/L qualifications screening test score; O/L grade score; and in some cases, physical test (such as applicable in the Nigerian Defence Academy/Police Academy).Therefore, it is the score from all these segments that are added together to have an eventual ranking table or “cut-off” score.
Prof. Fagge and his likes may wish to request the video clips of the proceedings of the just-concluded 2022 Policy Meeting on Admissions to see how institutions are practically in charge of their various submissions on who they want to admit.
Fabian Benjamin, Ph.D.
Head, Public Affairs and Protocol
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