The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has rejected the cut-off points for admission into tertiary institutions, describing the reduction as a gross misplacement of priority and exercise in futility.
NANS Vice President Olamide Odumosu, spoke at a protest by the group at the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Bwari, on Thursday.
Odumosu said that the reduction in the cut-off points would only lead to corruption as well as worsen the level of academic performance of students.
He added that NANS had supported the present administration in its fight against corruption, but the recent development was an act of exploitation on Nigerian students.
“JAMB in conjunction with Vice Chancellors and Provosts is exploiting Nigerian students, thereby reducing the level of education in the country.
“JAMB giving us 120 as a cut-off mark for Nigeria universities is a slap to our country.”
Odumosu added that the association would mobilise students across the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to stage a protest if nothing was done to all of their plights.
Also, Idowu Odebunmi, National Public Relations Officer of the association, accused the board of conniving with Vice Chancellors in bastardising the standards of Nigerian education.
Ajayi also said that the increment in the regularisation fees by the board from N5,000 to N10,000 should be reviewed.
Inscriptions like: ‘‘NANS say no to 120 cut-off marks,’ ‘say no to corruption in our education sector,’ ‘say no to post UTME fraud,’’ were written on the placards carried by the group.
Meanwhile, the National President of the association, Chinonso Obasi has condemned the cut-off marks reduction by JAMB and stakeholders.
Obasi, in a statement, said the review from 180 for universities and 165 polytechnics, now 120 and 100, respectively was uncalled for.
According to him, knowledge acquisition is a function of determination and hard work.
“And so, if over the years, students were able to work hard to meet cut-off points, it doesn’t make any logical sense to now lower the standard.”
He added that the inability of any student to meet the cut-off points was a function of outright indolence that should not be encouraged.
According to him, the general phenomenon is that Nigerian graduates are not employable, lowering of standard will translate to a disastrous outcome in the future by churning out young people, who cannot fit into the labour demands and expectations of the 21st century.
“Nigerian youths are intelligent and willing to learn because of the enabling environment provided by tertiary institutions abroad.
“The 21st century is driven by innovation and competitiveness.
“So, lowering the entering level into tertiary institutions will further contribute to reducing the productivity and peak performance of young people seeking admission into the country’s higher institutions of learning.”
He, however, said that the challenge of the tertiary institutions in Nigeria was not in the prospects of entering, but largely dependent on the numerous challenges within the various institutions.
Obasi decried the high level of inconsistencies in policy formulation and implementation in the educational sector.
He called on government to mainstream and benchmark global best practices in educational policy formulation and implementation.
He said that as critical stakeholders in the educational sector, the student body would vehemently resist the review.
Obasi urged government to maintain status quo and endeavour to conduct a comparative study and analysis of policies from other climes that supports functional learning.
However, Dr Yusuf Lawal, Director of Test Administration of the board, while addressing the group, said JAMB was ready to look at some of the issues.
Lawal explained that the cut-off marks were unanimously decided by stakeholders at its policy meeting on Aug. 22 in Abuja.
He added that JAMB would put some of the issues on a roundtable on re-engineering to reduce some of the cost in admission fees.
“For the cut-off point, JAMB is a clearing house for tertiary institutions. The set up of the board is not to take over process or mandate of the tertiary institutions.
“It was the tertiary institutions that met and that we should not dissipate energy on publicity, multiplicity of exam and multiplicity of admission.
“We are already looking at how we can reduce application fee of the coming year,” he said.
Lawal, however, said that it was not mandatory that everybody who scored 120 would be given admission but rather admission would be dependent on available courses in the tertiary institutions.
JAMB had on Aug. 22 reduced university cut-off to 120, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education to 100 at a policy meeting with the Vice Chancellors, Rectors and Provosts of higher institutions in the country.
Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, Registrar, JAMB, had at the policy meeting of the stakeholders of tertiary institutions in Abuja disclosed the reduction of cut off mark to 120.