By Chester Yakubu,
Abuja – The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has introduced flexible cut-off marks to expand admissions to tertiary institutions of learning in the country.
Registrar of the Board, Professor Ishaq Oloyede stated this on Monday at the second technical committee meeting on “2016 Admissions to Tertiary Institutions” held at the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri.
According to the Registrar, the meeting was principally aimed at finding solution to the army of admission seekers who were admitted in the first batch. “The purpose of today’s meeting is essentially to consider admissions of our teeming applicants who were not considered during the first exercise. Your Excellency, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, kindly recall that at the two (2) previous meetings in Kano and Abuja, I stated that the Board would cooperate with the various institutions in carrying out the mandates of their respective Senates and Academic Boards on admission matters. Therefore, the Board would not impose candidates on them but, as a referee, would ensure that no applicant is unjustifiably denied the opportunity of access to tertiary institutions in Nigeria,” said Oloyede in his opening remarks.
Oloyede noted that the Board will continue to get involve in admission matters in a way that reflects national concern in a season of change, devoid of corruption. This, he stated has already received the blessings of the Education Minister and other education stakeholders across the length and breadth of the country. “In this respect, we should be seen in a conspicuous and proven manner that we have the interest of the nation in mind in carrying out our statutory functions. I am pleased to note that we adhered to all the decisionsreached at the 2016-Policy Meeting chaired by our effective and efficient Honorable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu,” he said adding that as “expected of any responsible institution under a national dispensation that is uncompromisingly averse to corruption and lack of transparency, no review of any policy will be selective, sectional or an under the table-deal.”
On the controversial minimum cut-off mark for admission into tertiary institution, Oloyede said time had come to review same; noting that uniformity across board should not be encouraged, arguing that since the various institutions award different categories of certificates; same cut-off mark is untenable. His words: “Let me in this connection, address the issue of the minimum national cut-off mark which is normally decided at the Policy Meetings. By way of information, the Policy Meeting is one that comprises the Honourable Minister of Education as the Chairman, the Heads of Regulatory Bodies in the Education Sector such as NUC, NBTE, NABTEB, NCCE, the Heads of Tertiary Institutions, the Board and other Stakeholders. It was at this meeting that a decision of 180 as the 2016 National cut-off mark was reached. However, many Institutions, though part of the decision, have expressed concern on their inability to effect this cut-off mark as they are finding it difficult to fill a reasonable percentage of their quota if the rule is strictly applied ….”
For the ex-Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin, the inability of some institutions to fill their admission quota due to the strict implementation of the 180 minimum cut-off mark is a disservice to the nation’s quest for expansion of education as a tool of change and development. “As a Board, we have studied the trend of admissions and have come up with a finding that hardly do the institutions collectively fill their quota annually. Indeed, in some cases, up to 50% of approved quota is wasted particularly by upright institutions which do not circumspect the rule. Unfortunately, a large number of institutions flagrantly disregarded the cut-off and many other policies. Yet they found a way to eventually regularize the illegal admissions through corrupt process,” the JAMB boss further added.
Apparently to send a warning to his staff, Oloyede stated that even before he assumed duties at the Board, his predecessor had sanctioned those found to have been complicit in shady admission practices. “Shortly before my assumption of office, twelve officials of JAMB who had conspired with officials of some institutions to abuse the regularization process were dismissed from service,” adding that JAMB “has insisted on total recovery of millions of Naira involved in the deal.”
JAMB, he said has collated the requests from the various Senates and Academic Boards and have made our pleas known to appropriate authorities. The former VC also expressed joy in the fact that though the initiative is only a few months old, change is already being felt. “Just this morning we received a green light on flexible cut-off mark only for institutions which have exhausted the list of candidates with180 and above, subject, of course to a minimum acceptable to JAMB and meeting of other pre requisites.
In addition we have re opened the portal for change of institutions and courses so that institutions and candidates can legitimately without any need for regularization, effect change of course at the point of entry rather than National Youth Service Corps, NYSC- inspired regularization with attendant abuse. I have given a personal and official assurance to NYSC that all abuse/loopholes have been blocked,” he stressed.
On the need to be service-driven, the JAMB boss noted that a lot still need to be done, saying a lot has evolved over the years; more still need to be done. He said, “Service delivery is aimed at improving the value of services rendered. As a Board, we are reviewing the process of some of our service delivery platforms to the public aimed at enhancing our services to the public in line with international best practices that will eliminate some of the difficulties our clients go through in accessing our services.
The Board has therefore created on-line platforms for such services as purchase of application documents, change of course/institution, correction of data, etc., adding that “the platform provides for all the services candidates may require from the Board without increasing the service charge. It is no longer required of any applicant to travel to Bwari for any of the services. They are on line. Help desks on line, have also been opened. The beauty of it is that Heads of Institutions are directly involved in these processes because of the need to ensure transparency, accountability and completely eradicate abuses that were prevalent in the old order.”
In the years ahead, Oloyede said Nigerians would be proud of JAMB in their service to the country even as he prayed for the cooperation and understanding of all and sundry in the task of making the Board better than he met it.