High UTME score doesn’t guarantee school admission – JAMB

JAMB Registrar, Ishaq Oloyede

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has maintained that high scores in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) was not a guarantee for university admission.

This is as it declared that UTME was not the sole criterion in the process used by universities and other tertiary educational institutions.

JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede disclosed this over the weekend during the 2023 admissions policy meeting in Abuja.

The highest scoring candidate in the 2023 UTME got 360 marks while five others next to her scored marks about 350 of the 400 cumulative mark weight in the exams.

In his words, “the truth is that not the best candidate who scored the highest mark in UTME is the best candidate.”

Another major requirement is a good subject combination for the examination in relation to the course of choice as stated in the JAMB brochure.

That is aside have credit marks at the O’level in at least five subjects including mathematics and English or as the institution may require.

O’level often refers to the Senior School Certificate Examination conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examination Council (NECO).

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“Admission is based on the five 0’level results that a candidate possesses because we only make use of UTME for admission ranking. JAMB has not initiated admissions since 2016.”

Cut-off marks and the admission process

The university don also clarified controversies around who actually determines the cut-off marks.

He said tertiary institutions solely set their minimum benchmark for admission while informing JAMB of that, which forms the basis of what is announced at each admissions policy meeting annually.

This was as the JAMB Registrar also dispelled notions in the public space that admissions were given by JAMB.

He said admission depended on the availability of candidates five O’level requirements as UTME was only meant for admission ranking.

EduCeleb.com earlier reported that institutions gave the cut-off marks for certain academic programmes they run.

While the minimum for universities is 140, that of polytechnics and colleges of education is 100.

Other impediments to admissions

Speaking on gaps in admission vacancies and why candidates were not admitted, Oloyede said rigidity of programme choice and mismatch of demand and supply were responsible.

He also listed lack of interest in existing vacancies and trail-candidates (No 0’level results or awaiting results) as responsible for admission gaps in the tertiary institutions.

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The JAMB boss, therefore, said the onus lay with institutions to determine the National Minimum Tolerable UTME score, popularly called the ‘cut-off marks’.

The policy meeting had in attendance representatives from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Vice-Chancellors of universities, and Rectors of polytechnics.

Others were Provosts of Colleges of Education, Registrars and Admission Officers of tertiary institutions, heads of federal agencies, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE).

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