By Demola Akiny
Ilorin – The Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is’haq Olanrewaju Oloyede, has described the critics of the 160 cut off mark recently set by the Board for admission into tertiary institutions for the 2019/2020 academic session as ignorant of the mandate of JAMB.
Prof. Oloyede,who said this in an interview with journalists when he came for his certificate verification exercise at the University of Ilorin, explained that the Universal Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) is about ranking of candidates and space available in the Nigerian tertiary institutions.
The Unilorin certificate screening exercise commenced last year with the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sulyman Age Abdulkareem, being the first to present his certificate for verification.
The JAMB Registrar, like every staff member of the University, is expected to undergo the mandatory certificate screening exercise.
Speaking with newsmen on the sideline of the exercise, Prof. Oloyede reminded the critics of JAMB that the purpose of the UTME is to rank the already qualified candidates, saying space available in the institutions would determine how many would be taken.
The JAMB Registrar said that with over one million vacancies in the tertaiary institutions, if all the candidates who scored 180 and above should be taken, they would not fill the available quota for the 2019/2020 admission exercise.
Prof. Oloyede also observed that there have been occasions where candidates who scored minimum UTME grade did well in the post UTME examination of the institution of choice and has a very strong O’Level result.
He said, “Most of the comments are based on ignorance. JAMB does not conduct an examination to have a result of pass or fail. There is no pass or fail in JAMB exam because it is a ranking examination not an achievement examination. Every candidate that is seeking admission is already qualified by O’level result. If you go to study abroad, nobody is going to ask for your JAMB result.
“The people that are complaining have forgotten that the purpose of UTME is to rank those who were already qualified and see how many of them can be taken. And it is the availability of space that would determine how many would be taken. Such ignorant persons comment because they are not aware of the situation.
“Now, we have over one million vacancies in the capacity of the tertiary institutions. They are saying we should stop at 200 where there are only 400,000. Even if everybody who scored 180 and above should be taken, they would not fill the quota that is available”.
The JAMB Registrar opined that if the direct entry candidates who only have three points out of possible 16 points could be considered for admission, there is nothing stopping candidates with O’level certificate from standing a chance to be admitted with the minimum cut off mark of 160.
He said, “They have forgotten that there are people who are coming in with direct entry. Some of them have two points and some three out of 16 possible points. The people did not complain that why are we having A level people with two or three points out of 16 because they are not equipped on what they are commenting about. They want the institutions to remain vacant while we claim that ranking examination has dropped them
Speaking further, Prof. Oloyede said, “The second point is that there is nothing called “cut off mark” when you talk about UTME. Somebody scores 120, you said that person is not qualified to gain admission into any of the country’s tertiary institution. Remember if you are going to the University of Ilorin, University of Ibadan or the University of Lagos, that score is just one out of the three steps to be taken before he or she could be considered for admission”.
“That same person goes to take post-UTME in the university of his or her choice where he or she scored 90% which is another component of the so called cut off. The man who scored 350 in JAMB now scored 40%. That person is ab-initio off because those Universities would not take him for failing to meet up with their pass marks. He has dropped even though he scored 350 in UTME.