The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) recently released the new cut-off marks for admissions into higher institutions of learning in the country for the 2017/2018 academic session. At a policy meeting held with heads of institutions and other education regulatory bodies in Abuja, the examination body approved 120 as the minimum mark for degree-awarding institutions while the minimum cut-off marks for admissions into polytechnics and colleges of education were pegged at 100, with innovative enterprising institutes coming at 110. JAMB however directed that institutions are at liberty to raise their cut-off marks for admission above the set minimum. The meeting which held at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja, had in attendance vice chancellors, rectors, provosts and registrars of tertiary institutions. Following widespread public condemnation and rejection of that decision, JAMB defended its position by blaming poor admission policies as having frustrated and deprived candidates’ admission into higher institutions in the past, forcing thousands to look for admissions abroad. JAMB spokesman, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, disclosed in a statement that the board would ensure that higher institutions adhere strictly to guidelines including cut-off marks to ensure candidates were not denied admissions. He said, “It’s also a known fact that for you to study a course say Hausa in Nigerian universities, you will need a credit in mathematics, however when you go outside like in London, all you will need is a credit in Hausa and English, no mathematics. Such and so many other poorly thought-out policies have pushed our frustrated candidates out of Nigeria to developed and neighbouring African nations for education they could not get at home.” Dr. Benjamin further explained that the 120 minimum cut-off mark for university admission does not in any way suggest that once a candidate has 120, he would get admission. “Institutions will admit from the top to the least mark,” he added. He also revealed that cut-off marks were never strictly followed by most institutions as they went behind to admit candidates with far less score while others admitted candidates who never sat for JAMB examination. VCs, ASUU Reject 120 Cut-Off Mark Vice-Chancellors and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have rejected the decision of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board. The leadership of ASUU in a statement; described the development as a “sad policy decision,” adding that it was in tandem “with the dream of the present government to destroy public universities in the country.” The vice-chancellors were of the opinion that the decision would add no value to the nation’s university system and assured that they would not lower admission standards in their respective varsities. According to The Punch, the Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Idowu Olayinka, had in a statement released by his Media Assistant, Mr. Sunday Saanu, disclosed that the university would never admit any candidate that scored 120 in the UTME. The statement added, “It should worry us as patriots that candidates who scored just 30 per cent in the UTME can be admitted into some of our universities. Yet, we complain of poor quality of our graduates. You can hardly build something on nothing. The consolation here is that since JAMB started conducting this qualifying exam in 1978, UI has never admitted any candidate who scored less than 200 marks out of the maximum 400 marks which translates to a minimum of 50 per cent. This remains our position as an institution aspiring to be world-class. Reality is that only about four other universities in the country have such high standard. To that extent, apart from being the oldest, we are an elite university in the country at least judging by the quality of our intakes.’’ Reacting to the development, ViceChancellor, Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State, Prof. Oluyemisi Obilade, said that the onus would ultimately fall on parents and employers of labour to decide “between a first-class graduate of a university which takes 120 as its cut-off mark or one that takes 180 as its cut-off mark.’’ Obilade, who said that TASUED would never go below 180, insisted that many of the VCs at the combined policy meeting during which the 120 benchmark decision was made, said they would not go below 180.