The House of Representatives plenary presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, on Tuesday endorsed a resolution to investigate why the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board fixed a 120 cut-off mark for admission into the universities.
The resolution was taken after a debate by members. While some Reps sought the scrapping of JAMB, others defended the examination body.
The debate followed a motion moved by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Benue State, Mr. Hassan Saleh.
Leading the debate, Saleh stated that while JAMB set 120 points for admission into universities, it set 100 marks for placement into polytechnics or colleges of education.
He described the marks as “ridiculous,” saying many candidates scored higher marks during the last UMTE.
A member from Niger State, Mr. Adamu Chika, said it was strange for an examination body to recommend candidates for admission with 30 per cent score.
“This policy was done to favour some powerful people; let us face the fact. We are all aware that the private universities are not able to get candidates to fill their spaces,” he alleged.
A member from Lagos State, Mrs. Rita Orji, also called for the scrapping of JAMB, saying, “Let JAMB be scrapped if they are becoming irrelevant.”
But, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education, Mr. Aminu Suleiman, called for caution, advising members not to make comments that could pre-empt the outcome of the investigation.
Another member from Kwara State, Mr. Ahman Pategi, also described as “hasty” a move by members to condemn the policy without first appreciating the factors that could have led to the decision by the stakeholders.
“The people who took this decision are the professionals in the education sector. We are not professionals and we cannot claim to know more than them,” he said.
At the end of the debate, members passed the motion in a majority voice vote.
The Committee on Tertiary Education was directed to look into the matter and report back to the House within four weeks.
In a related development, the Senate has opted to call a stakeholders’ meeting to deliberate on the conflicts arising from the JAMB cut-off mark and other related admission matters.
At the plenary on Tuesday, some senators condemned the conduct of tests for applicants by universities after the candidates had passed the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination by JAMB.
The lawmakers, while debating a motion moved by Senator Umaru Kurfi (Katsina-Central), lamented that candidates were finding it difficult to gain admission into Nigeria’s tertiary institutions but found it easy in other countries.
The motion was titled, ‘The need to revisit the regulatory conflict between Joint Admission and Matriculation Board and universities in offering admission in Nigeria.’
Seconding the motion, Senator Shehu Sani, said, “JAMB has been literally ‘jamming’ the future of our young people in the sense that there have been a lot of impediments that have seriously affected their ability to get into university.
“Our concern is the fact that after JAMB (examination) is post-UTME. That becomes a series of hardship and suffering on the way to university. The problem we are facing is peculiar to us. It is easier for a Nigerian to secure admission outside this continent than it is here. Why should it be so?
In his contribution, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, Senator Barau Jibrin, said JAMB was performing better under the current administration.
“When you talk about the efficiency or integrity of JAMB, it has improved. Yes, few years back, things were not going fine with JAMB. But the current administration of JAMB is doing very well,” he stated.
He said the decision to set new cut-off marks was collectively done between JAMB, universities and other stakeholders, including the Senate committee.
He added that the schools were at liberty to raise the marks individually.
The Majority Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, also said, “When the post-UTME test was introduced, I was then Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Education. We kicked against it because we felt then and I feel now that there is no need for this test.”
The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, in his remarks, advised that the prayer of the motion should call for a stakeholders’ meeting between the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, the Federal Ministry of Education and other stakeholders to review the issues and make recommendations that would be considered by the chamber.
Kurfi thereafter amended the prayer as Saraki advised and it was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers.