Nwitte-Eze Nkechi


Jamb was created to unify the tertiary school admission process. The first important function of jamb according to the Jamb decree on its official website is “general control of the matriculation examination for admissions into all Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (by whatever name called) in Nigeria.”  See (http://www.jamb.gov.ng/Decree.aspx).

Before the promulgation of Jamb Decree on 13th February, 1978, existing universities had conducted their own concessional examinations and admitted their students. However, the Decree noted that this system of admission revealed serious limitations and quite often, waste of resources in the process of administering the concessional examination especially on the part of the candidates. The general untidiness in the uncoordinated system of admissions into universities and the attendant problems were sufficient cause for concern to the committee of vice – chancellors, hence the creation of Jamb as an attempt to tackle this problem. See (http://www.jamb.gov.ng/About_JAMB.aspx).

On Tuesday August 2017 The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB)  ratified 120 as the minimum mark for degree-awarding institutions, 100 as minimum mark for polytechnics, while the highest that an institution can fix is 180. The same mark applies to Colleges of Education. The admission cut-off mark for Innovative Enterprise Institutions ranges between 110 and 120. Furthermore the conduct of Post-UTME examination as a prerequisite for admission into tertiary institution was restored.

Jamb defended the reason for the reduction of the Jamb cut-off and restoring of the post –UTME by giving the following reasons:

  1. On reduction of jamb cut-off mark, the spokesman said was too important to stop the quest for foreign education by Nigerians. According to its spokesman, “it is obvious that the quest to go abroad for foreign education is due to some of our policies including high jamb scores… It is expedient to state that the worst admitted cut off mark in a Nigerian institution is far better than allowing them to fly out to some of the mushroom institution they are   attending   out there which we all know are nothing to be proud of.”
  2. He further explained that the “ cut-off marks were never strictly followed by most institutions, which were going behind to admit candidates with far lower scores, while others were admitting candidates who never sat for JAMB. Again, it is necessary to explain that the 120 mark does not in any way suggest that once you have 120 then admission is   sure for you. Institutions will admit from the top to the least mark.”
  3. On restoration of post-UTME, the spokesman said, “stakeholders decided that institutions should be allowed to determine their cut off marks according to their peculiarities and the quality and standard they want to be known for but all Heads of tertiary institutions are requested to submit their cut off benchmark to the Board which will then be used for the admission and that these benchmarks once determined cannot be changed in the middle of admission exercise.”
  4. According to him, “if we deny our candidates the opportunity to school in Nigeria they will find their way out and in doing that deplete our economic base.”See (https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/08/cut-off-marks-reduced-stop-nigerians-quest-foreign-education-jamb/).

As innocuous as Jamb’s argument may seem, it is also imperative they must ask and answer this questions: If the cut-off mark is reduced to its lowest and institutions are left to hold another exam and fix their own cut-off mark, what then is the need to write Jamb?

Secondly Jamb registration fee has not been easy for many Nigerians over the years, and the additional Post-UTME fee increases the burden. Doesn’t restoring it defeat the aim of trying to encourage Nigerian students to study at home and also the aim of trying to conserve resources especially on the part of candidates? (We don’t want to discuss the recent announcement by the Hon Minister of Finance to the effect that the highest amount Jamb has remitted to the Federation Account is N3 million, whereas the current Jamb management has already remitted N5 billion, with a commitment to remit N3 billion more, meaning that the previous management of Jamb has been stealing about N8 billion annually.)

Thirdly, why write Jamb if one cannot be sure of using it to qualify for admission into any Nigerian university, since many schools will come up with higher Post-UTME cut-off mark?

Doesn’t all this defeats the reason for the creation of Jamb in the first place which is to combat the waste of resources especially on the part of the candidates and create a more unified system?

Finally, if salt loses its taste, it becomes useless and is only fit to be thrown away, same applies to Jamb.




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