Why did JAMB set cutoff mark at 160?

19 Jun, 2019
While JAMB's process of setting benchmarks is not fully known to the public, tertiary institutions are usually asked to submit individual minimum acceptable marks before an aggregate is done, and a final general decision is made by all concerned.

Institutions have been noted to advocate for lower cutoff marks over the years for a range of reasons - failure to find enough students being a common one.

Some institutions have been reported to be unable to meet their admission quotas for years, leading to desperate measures such as admitting students who scored below official benchmarks like 180 which has been used a lot in the past.

For example, Prof. Oloyede complained in 2017 that institutions went as far as admitting a total of 17,160 students who didn't even sit for UTME as required, just in a bid to shore up their admission numbers.

A previous explanation by JAMB for why cutoff is set below the publicly-favoured 200 is to allow institutions determine their cutoff marks according to the peculiarities, quality and standards they wish to be known for.

Even though the cutoff mark for admission into public universities has been largely set at 180 over the past 10 years, it took a huge dive to 120 in 2017, and then rose to 140 in 2018.

Just like in 2017, many Nigerians have condemned the new cutoff as an exploitative measure for institutions to make more money through Post-UTME, while ignoring the side-effect that it endangers the nation's educational standards.

However, JAMB has appealed to the public in the past that it's usually a decision taken dispassionately with the best interests of the students and institutions in mind.

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