Some private universities in Northwest say the prolonged strike by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) , has resulted in increase in their admission figure.
The institutions, based in Kano, Kaduna and Katsina, said although the ASUU strike was not something to celebrate because of its negative impact on the education sector, they were reaping from it.
In Kano, sources from five private universities who spoke to NAN, said the over six months old strike had resulted in a boost in their enrollment figure.
NAN reports that the state has about five private universities, namely Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria (MAAUN), Skyline University, Kano, Al-Istiqama University, Sumaila, Capital City and Baba Ahmed University.
The MAAUN’s Head of Corporate Communications Unit, Alhaji Tukur Masanaw, said the institution commenced academic session in 20212022. He said that about 1,000 students were matriculated, which is the university with the highest number of students in the country.
“Out of the 111 private varsities in Nigeria, it is the only varsity that started with the highest enrollment in the country,” he said.
On his part, the Proprietor of Al-Istiqama University, Sumaila, Alhaji Abdurrahman Sumaila, said the ASUU strike had boosted their enrollment figure.
“ Al-Istiqama University is witnessing increase in its enrollment this time around, courtesy of the ongoing nationwide strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“Though that could not be the only factor that led to the recent development, however, it has contributed immensely.
“As I am speaking to you, we have between 400-500 applicants for various courses on our website waiting for approval, and this is prior to the commencement of admission for the next academic year.
“This is to tell you that when the admission starts, the figures will surely increase ,” he said Kawu-Sumaila added that dozens of students from various public universities were also joining Al-Istiqama University on transfer since the commencement of the ASUU strike.
Also, the Registrar, Skyline University, Kano, Mr Haruna Aliyu, said that the institution admitted 170 students into level one in August, 2022. He said that admission was still ongoing, adding that the school received more students this year, compared to 2021. “In 2021, 162 students were enrolled into the Skyline University, but this year, we were able to register 170 students.
“Most of the students were transferred to Kano Campus from outside the country because they could not continue to school abroad due to increase in the dollar exchange rate.
“Students on transfer must study in Skyline for two good years before they graduate.
“This year, we also received about 36 transfer from neighbouring university which include Bayero University, Kano and Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano, among others,” he said According to him, the school offers 18 courses in three faculties namely, the School of Science and Information Technology, School of Arts and Management Studies and Medical Sciences.
Aliyu further explained that during the 2022 JAMB exam, 257 students chose Skyline as their first choice while 165 chose the institution as second choice On her part, The Public Relations Officer, Capital City University, Mrs Walida Bello, said that due to ASUU strike, parents had been coming to make enquiries to enroll their children in the university.
“So far, 22 people came and collected admission forms, out of which eight had filled and returned the forms.
Also, the Dean, Student Officer of Baba Ahmed University, Kano, Dr Suleiman Kofar-Naisa, said registration of students was ongoing in the school.
“Some have brought their credentials for screening to check if they are qualified for admission, while others who choose Baba Ahmed as second choice were asked to buy green card and make the school as their first choice to enable them gain admission”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Greenfield University, the first private university in Kaduna State, said but for the security challenges, the institution too would have recorded a boost in enrollment, courtesy of ASUU strike.
Dr Valantine Nwakacha, Dean of faculty of Science and Technology of the university, told NAN that the volatile security situation in the state was discouraging prospective students who wanted to enroll to study in the university.
Nwakacha, a former Director of Academic Planning in the university, said that Greenfield University began academic activities under the 20182019 academic session, with 13 students.
He said that while the lingering strike by the ASUU provided opportunity for enrollment of students to swell, insecurity had snatched such an opportunity.
The official, who said that the total enrollment currently stood at about 85, stressed that the number would have been more because of the facilities provided, as well as the standard and quality academic programmes offered by the institution.
“Just when many students were beginning to indicate interest in the university, bandits invaded the university in April 2021and kidnapped some of our students.
“As a result, some of the students left the university because of the insecurity, while others were killed; this unfortunate incident made prospective candidates to change their minds, for security reasons.
“This development forced us to relocate the university, formerly located at KM 33 along Kaduna-Abuja expressway, to Kudenda in Chikun Local Government Area of the state,” he said.
Nwakacha said that the 20222023 academic session would commence in two to three weeks time, adding that so far, about 50 students were seeking admission.
In Katsina, the Head of the Public Affairs and Communications of Al-Qalam University, Alhaji Akilu Abubakar said it would only show in their next admission if there was any increase in student’s enrollment.
Abubakar explained that by Feb. 2022, the University had already started registration for the session, saying that was the period when ASUU members began their strike.
Abubakar further said that the students of Al-Qalam had completed their first semester, went on break, and had now returned for their second semester.
He added that the University may not have the statistics of the enrollment until January 2023 when the admission list for the 20222023 academic session would have been released.
” I have been receiving a series of calls from people, especially parents, who said they are losing confidence in the public universities due to the persistent ASUU strike.
“They have been asking when Alqualam is commencing the next admission because they are planning to return their children to the institution”, he said.
A new Commissioner of Police, Mr Kolo Yusuf, has reported for duty in Zamfara, promising to protect lives and property.
Police spokesman in the state, SP Muhammad Shehu, stated in Gusau on Monday that Mr Yusuf is the 32nd commissioner of police to be deployed in Zamfara.
“Mr Kolo Yusuf was born in 1968 in Majiko Village of Edati Local Government Area of Niger.
“He attended Primary School in Niger from 1974 to 1979. He attended Government Technical College, Lagos on Niger State government scholarship between 1979 and 1985,’’ Shehu stated.
Yusuf holds a Bachelor of Law degree of the University of Abuja and is a member of the Nigeria Bar Association.
He also holds a Master’s degree in Crime Management and Prevention obtained at Bayero University, Kano, and a Doctorate in International Relations.
He was enlisted into the Nigeria Police Force in 1988 and has served in various capacities including as Officer-in-Charge, Anti-Robbery Squad in Anambra, Kano, Kogi and the FCT, among others.
Yusuf was Commander, Inspector-General of Police Crack Squad, Zone 1 Kano, Coordinator, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad and Commander, Technical Intelligence Unit and Special Tactical Squad under the Force Intelligence Bureau.
The newly posted Commissioner of Police in Enugu State, Mr Ahmed Ammani, on Thursday assumed duty as the 27th Commissioner of Police in the state.
Ammani took over from outgoing Commissioner, Mr Abubakar Lawal, who had been redeployed to Kano State Command.
At the over ceremony in Enugu, the new commissioner appealed for maximum support and cooperation of citizens, especially in the area of timely sharing of credible information and intelligence on crime developments.
He said that he would bring his wealth of administrative, operational and experience garnered over 30 years to bear in reducing crime and criminality in the state.
“With the support of the citizenry, I pledge to replicate all feats I have achieved in combating existing and emerging crime and criminality within Enugu State and make the state safer for all,” he said.
Ammani hails from Malumfashi Local Government Area of Kastina State and holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) Honours Degree in Hausa and Islamic Religious Studies from Bayero University, Kano. He also holds a Master of Science (M.
Sc) Degree in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Corruption Studies from Hong Kong University.
He was appointed into the Nigeria Police in 1992 and commissioned as an Assistant Superintendent of Police, from where he had risen to the rank of Commissioner of Police, serving in different Zonal and State Commands.
The CP served in formations and on secondment at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, among others.
The Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Mr Usman Baba has ordered the deployment of new Commissioners of Police (CPs) for Kano, Zamfara and Enugu states.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), CSP Olumuyiwa Adejobi said this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said the CPs affected by the deployment were Abubakar Lawal, Kano, Kolo Yusuf, Zamfara and Ahmed Ammani, Enugu State.
Adejobi said the deployment of Lawal to Kano State followed the retirement of the former CP, Samaíla Dikko.
He said Lawal, a native of Daura in Katsina, holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and had served in various capacities since his commissioning as an Assistant Superintendent of Police in 1990. The police spokesman said Yusufu, the new CP in charge of Zamfara hailed from Niger and holds a Bachelor of Law Degree and is a member of the Nigeria Bar Association.
He said Yusufu also holds a Masters Degree in Crime Management and Prevention and a Doctorate in International Relations.
Adejobi said the CP had served in various operational capacities including as Officer in Charge of Anti-Robbery Squad in various states; Commander, I-G Crack Squad and Coordinator, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
He said Yusuf also served as the Commander Technical Intelligence Unit and Special Tactical Squad under the Force Intelligence Bureau.
Adejobi said, Ammani, the new CP for Enugu state hailed from Katsina and holds a first Degree in Hausa and Islamic Studies from Bayero University Kano and Post-Graduate Certificate in Corruption Studies from Hong Kong University.
He said the new Enugu state CP also holds a Master of Science Degree in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.
He had served as Divisional Police Officer in various divisions within Nasarawa State and as Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations in Ondo State.
Adejobi said the I-G charged the newly deployed CPs to hit the ground running in the areas of crime-fighting, public cooperation and safety.
The I-G called on the public to support and cooperate with the new Police helmsmen to enable them perform optimally on their mandate.
The police spokesman said the postings were with immediate effect.
The Governing Council of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) has approved the appointment of Dr Kamaldeen Omo-Pupa as the new University Librarian and Mr Ramoni Amaoo, as Director of Works.
The Director, Corporate Affairs Department of UNILORIN, Mr Kunle Akogun, announced this in a statement on Monday in Ilorin.
He said that the development was one of the highlights of the meeting of the Governing Council of the university presided by its Chairman, Mallam Abidu Yazid.
He said that Omo-Pupa would be taking over as the University Librarian from Prof. Abdulwahab Issa, whose five-year tenure ends in October.
“Dr Omo-Pupa, an Associate Professor and former Ag. Head of the Department of Library and Information Science, University of Ilorin, joined the services of the university as an Assistant Lecturer in 2008. “He was born 52 years ago in Ilorin and attended the famous Government High School, Ilorin, from where he received his West African School Certificate (WASC) in 1987,” he said.
Akogun added that Omo-Pupa was a product of the Bayero University, Kano, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Library and Information Science in 1994. “He got his Master’s Degree in the same discipline from the University of Ibadan in 2005. “He had earlier obtained his Master’s degree in Labour and Industrial Relations from the University of Ilorin in 2000. “The new librarian of the university also capped his academic credentials with a Doctorate degree in Library and Information Science from the University of KwaZulu, Natal, South Africa, in 2016,” he said.
Akogun, similarly, described the incoming Director of Works, Mr Amaoo, as a renowned Mechanical Engineer with about four decades experience in various sectors.
“An indigene of Ede, Osun State, Amaoo joined the services of UNILORIN as a Principal Mechanical Engineer in 2011. “Born about 60 years ago, the new director attended the famous Muslim Grammar School, Ede, from where he earned his WASC in 1981. “He proceeded to the Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State, for his Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Mechanical Engineering, which he obtained in 1984. “Amaoo also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in 1988, and later Master’s Degree at the University of Lagos in the same discipline in 2008,” he said.
Health experts and critical stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to publish the 2020, 2021 and 2022 COVID-19 and Health Security expenditure report.
The experts include Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working in the health sector.
They made the call in a statement by the Coordinator, African Health Budget Network (AHBN), Dr Aminu Magashi.
The statement came at the end of a two –day retreat to review the draft national and states scorecards, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.
Magashi said that the scorecard was on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent and Elderly Health Plus Nutrition (RMNCAEH+N), COVID-19 and Health Security Accountability, organized by AHBN, in Lagos.
He said that the stakeholders also advocated the strengthening of a national financing mechanism and multi-sectoral coordination and collaboration for health security.
The AHBN Coordinator said that they further recommended that in line with the ‘One Health Approach’, the Nigerian government should strengthen coordinated surveillance systems in the animal and public health sectors.
“Other recommendations of the stakeholders include the call on the Federal Government to support states in strengthening crisis communication team and community involvement for factual public information on COVID-19. “The government should ensure adequate COVID-19 vaccines were available to all the 36 states of the federation and the FCT and support poor performing states to increase vaccine uptake and reduce hesitancy.
“ The Federal Government should also support relevant government agencies for the development of innovative ways to monitor allocation, donors support, loans and government releases for health security and COVID-19,” he said.
Magashi reported Dr. Mohammed Abbas, Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Bayero University, Kano, as saying that it was worrisome that 60 per cent of infectious diseases came from zoonotic sources.
“It is also the source of three out of every four new or emerging infectious diseases in humans.
“This calls for urgent attention by the Federal Government to ensure the availability of coordinated surveillance systems in the animal and public health sectors for zoonotic pathogens.
” NAN reports that the COVID-19 and health security accountability scorecard was developed through adaptation of selected indicators from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Joint External Evaluation (JEE) tool.
This includes the approved budget and presentations, review of COVID-19-related government online dashboards, meetings with agencies, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), media and young people.
The scorecard was developed to report CSOs review on Nigeria`s capacity on preparedness and response to health security and COVID-19. It also serves as an evidence tool to be used by all stakeholders, including CSOs, media, advocates, young people and development partners.
This is to strategically influence actions that mobilise resources, promote prudent spending, transparency and accountability of COVID-19 health security funds.
Dr Muhammad Abbas, Head of Department, Microbiology and Parasitology, Bayero University, Kano State has decried the low vaccination of dogs to eliminate rabies in Nigeria by 2030. Abbas, an expert in vaccine preparation, kicked against the inadequate vaccination of dogs against rabies in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.
Abbas said that vaccination remains the most cost-effective means of preventing, controlling and eradicating infectious diseases.
He stated that some countries had acted to strengthen rabies’ control efforts by scaling up dog vaccination programmes, and making human biologicals for post-exposure and pre-exposure prophylaxis more accessible.
The don said that such countries had been proactive by engaging communities on rabies.
According to him, Nigeria, however, is yet to intensify efforts toward the elimination of this disease.
Abbas says the Global Strategic Plan sets three objectives for affected countries, development partners, and key stakeholders, to effectively use vaccines, medicines, tools and technologies.
He saId that these measures would stop dog rabies transmission and reduce the risk of human death emanating from the disease.
“Countries are to generate evidence-based guidance and high-quality data, to measure impact and inform policy decisions and to harness multi-stakeholder engagement, to sustain commitment and resources,” he said.
According to Abbas, rabies is one of the neglected tropical vaccine-preventable diseases and predominantly affects poor and vulnerable populations, who live in remote rural locations.
He said: “Vaccinating dogs is the most cost-effective strategy for preventing rabies in people.
“Dog vaccination reduces deaths attributable to rabies and the need for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) as a part of dog bite patient’s care.
“In Nigeria, more than 50,000 people die each year from human rabies, with rabid dogs accounting for over 90 per cent of confirmed human infection.
“We are not sure of the estimated Nigerians that receive PEP each year after being exposed to animals with suspected rabies, because there is no data to support this confirmation.
“Rabies PEP is close to 100 per cent effective.
Rabies is fatal in more than 99.9 per cent of humans that develop the disease.
“ The don called on the government to do more, to meet the Global Strategic Plan. He advised the Federal Government to generate accurate data to monitor the trend of disease and also intensify awareness of rabies’ prevention and dog vaccination in Nigeria.
Abbas called for the provision of cost-effective vaccines that would be able to reach Nigerians at the right time.
NAN reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had in 2018 introduced a new global strategic plan to eliminate dog-mediated rabies by 2030. The organisation described rabies as one of the oldest and most terrifying diseases known to man.
Written and pictorial records of rabies date back more than 4,000 years and today, it is endemic in more than 150 countries around the world.
Even though the disease can be prevented, it kills an estimated 59, 000 people each year, mostly in the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.
About 40 per cent of the victims are children younger than 15 years, living in Asia and Africa.
A staggering 99 per cent of human cases are acquired via the bite of an infected dog, rather than through exposure to the many and varied wild animals.
According to WHO, these animals act as viral reservoirs on different continents.
Prof. Abubakar Siddique, Director, Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training (CEDDERT), Zaria, has urged political leaders to consider governance as service to the people.
He also admonished the leaders not to use their positions as means of getting rich quickly.
Siddique stated this on Monday in Kano, at a paper presentation, titled: “Party Politics and Electoral Violence in Nigeria.
”The lecture was organised by the Aminu Kano Center for Democratic Studies, Bayero University Kano, to mark 72nd anniversary of the defunct Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), (1950-2022).
He said the call has become necessary in order to enhance good governance and strengthen democracy in the country.
Siddique said that it is only through that election malpractices could be curtailed.
“Election rigging has attained the fineness it has, because winning election is key to power, quick and easy wealth,” he said.
Siddique said, ”some political scientists see politics as a process of conflict resolution through compromise, conciliation and negotiation rather than through naked power.
”Violence is illegal or illegitimate use of physical force in a harmful way on people or property with the intention to cause injury or damage.
“By extension, election violence, which is linked to party politics, may be defined as the illegal use of force to achieve some short or long term political objectives by a political party or its members.
”He urged Nigerians to come out en masse to vote for credible candidates during the 2023 General Elections.
The Director also advised the citizens to shun violence before, during and after the elections.
Siddique further urged the government to intensify efforts in addressing the security challenges in some parts of the country to enable the citizens exercise their franchise.
In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Mustapha Isa, cautioned youths against allowing themselves to be used by some selfish politicians to perpetuate violence during elections.
The Vice-Chancellor, Bayero University, Kano (BUK), Prof. Sagir Adamu-Abbas, says one of the key challenges of political parties in Nigeria is poverty of ideology.
Adamu-Abbas stated this at a public lecture on the sixth edition of the annual Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) day, to mark its 72nd Anniversary (1950-2022), on Monday in Kano.The lecture was organised by the Aminu Kano Center for Democratic Studies, Bayero University, Kano, with theme: “Party Politics and Electoral Violence in Nigeria.
”The VC was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Prof. Sani Mohammed-Gumel.
“It is very apt and topical in view of the fact that most political parties today are bereft of ideologies and articulated programmes.
“Unlike NEPU, the present political parties are neither defined by ideologies, nor are they supreme in organisational terms.
“One of the key challenges of party politics in Nigeria is poverty of ideology.
“Currently, the only purpose of political parties appears to be the nomination of candidates for elections.
Politicians join parties to secure party tickets by all means,” he said.
He said that NEPU was formed on Aug. 8,1950, with objective of waging a determined war against colonialism and pursued the entrenchment of democracy as a way of life.
Others, he said, were raising the level of consciousness of the poor (Talakawas), to recognise their worth and fight human dignity, freedom of speech, association, movement, assembly and action within the law.
“No doubt, the story of NEPU is another proof that there is a lot of inspiration that could be drawn from history in order to squarely face the political challenges of our present time and the future.
“I urge all compatriots to say “No” to electoral violence and “a big ”No” to bad governance,” Adamu-Abbas said.
“Let us remember that the people’s power is enormous in democracy.
”That power can only be legitimately exercised through peaceful, credible, free and fair elections,” he said.
Another lecture was presented by the Director, Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training, Zaria, Prof. Abubakar Siddique-Mohammed.
Siddique-Mohammed urged the government to intensify efforts in addressing security challenges before the 2023 General Elections, to enable the citizens exercise their civic rights.
He further urged Nigerians to shun electoral violence and elect credible candidates who have the capacity of moving the country forward.
Mixed reactions trail the reduction in Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) cut-off points for admission into tertiary institutions , with stakeholders in Northwest expressing divergent views.
In a survey conducted by the News Agency of Nigeria , whereas some of the stakeholders viewed the development as being counter-productive, others felt the reduction in the cut-off points posed no threat to the system as the 140 points was only the ‘minimum’ marks requirement.
All the respondents however agreed that the mass failure that forced a reduction in the cut-off points, was a clear indication of the decline in quality of teaching in schools and products being churned out.
NAN reports that the cut-off marks for the 20202021 admission was 160 for universities, while 120 and 100 were fixed for for Polytechnics and Colleges of Education respectively.
In 20212022 admission, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) gave schools the freedom to set their own minimum marks for admission.
For 20222023 admission, JAMB adopted 140 as the minimum cut-off mark for degree awarding institutions, and 100 marks for Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
In Kaduna, some academics described the continued lowering of the cut-off marks for admission as an indication of a “crumbling education system” in Nigeria.
The academics attributed the development to poor students’ performance in the Unified Tertiary Institutions Matriculation Examination (UTME) being conducted by JAMB, which determines the cut-off marks.
One of them, Prof. Terhemba Wuam, a Professor of Economic History and Dean, Students Affairs, Kaduna State University, said that such development has severe consequences on the nation’s education system.
According to him, the continued lowering of the cut-off marks from 180 in the early 2000, to the current 140 for universities, shows that Nigeria’s education system is in crisis.
“If performance is good and highly competitive, based on the minimum expected standard, an applicant with 250 out of 400 points might not be able to secure admission.
“But 140 cut-off marks for entry into degree awarding institutions is a clear case of the Nigerian education system crumbling”, he noted.
Wuam said that the way out was to improve the country’s education system, adding that the planners needed to go back to the drawing board.
Dr Peter Adamu, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of University, KASU Chapter, also said that lowering the cut-off marks was an indication that the quality of education was declining.
“For example, 140 for universities means 35 per cent score and 100 for Polytechnics and Colleges of Education is 25 per cent; this is below the 40 per cent ‘E’ grade pass mark.
“The yearly reduction will discourage some bright students from putting in more efforts to obtain higher scores, and this is likely to affect reading culture”, he said.
Adamu suggested that at minimum, the marks should tally with the 40 per cent pass marks obtainable in tertiary institutions to pressurise applicants into putting in their best.
Mr Dauda Pikawi, a lecturer with the Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, described the development as “counter-productive” to the nation’s quest for quality and functional education.
According to him, lowering the cut-off marks is synonymous to lowering the standard of the already degenerated education in the country.
“This is a country where the Colleges of Education that produce the teachers that would teach the nation’s population are the ones allotted the least entry point.
“Disturbingly, for 2022 admission, the cut-off marks for Colleges of Education, the teacher training institutions, is as low as 100 out of 400 points.
“In Malaysia and other countries, students with the highest points are the ones admitted into Teachers’ Colleges, while those with lower points are admitted for professional fields in the university and other institutions,” he said.
He advised JAMB to set a benchmark of 200 as entry points to all tertiary institutions in the country to maintain standard across the board, stressing that no educational institution was less than the other.
“Our experience in the classroom is very pathetic, with most students still struggling to understand simple parts of speech.
“The worst are those in Colleges of Education where the worst performing applicants, both in secondary certificate examinations and UTME, are admitted,” he said.
Also, Mr Daniels Akpan, Executive Director, African Centre for Education Development (CLEDA Africa) said that lowering the cut-off marks would discourage students from studying hard.
“This also means that the lecturers will be struggling to teach students who are not mentally ready for tertiary education, and the circle of churning out half-baked graduates continues.
“You do not help people by lowering standards; you help them by raising the standard, which is more sustainable, particularly in Nigeria, where we need functional education to move the country forward,” he said.
Akpan also said that the universities and other tertiary institutions would be overwhelmed with applications for admission due to the low cut-off marks that would result in tight competition for space.
“This development, if not checked, will breed corruption and sharp practices among the students and admission officers in the various tertiary institutions,” he added.
Dr Mansur Buhari of the Department of Modern European Languages and Linguistics, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, said lowering of cut-off marks by JAMB, amounted to “exchanging quality for quantity” in tertiary institutions.
“The cut-off mark reduction affects the quality of students admitted as the standard of education keeps declining due to mainly poor learning atmosphere.
“Another thing is that with this decision, JAMB seems to be much more interested in making profit than ensuring quality.
“This is because the decision may only encourage more ‘customers’ rather than producing quality candidates to sit for the examination.
“An example is how the examination body is seen bragging about how much billions in revenue being made from sales of forms and other add-ons for the candidates”, he said However, Malam Isma’ila Muhammad, from Federal College of Education, Gidan Madi, Sokoto, said although JAMB and other stakeholders are empowered to determine the minimum UTME score for admission, tertiary institutions still had the choice of increasing their points.
“Years ago, before UTME became completely computer-based, JAMB considers curriculum changes in pegging cut-off points.
“The level of changes in curriculum normally affects the learner’s performance as every new development in curriculum calls for adjustments in instruction.
“Implementation (coverage) of syllabi is also a factor; JAMB considers the extent of curriculum coverage across the federation; prolonged strikes, vacations, availability of subventions, manpower and school safety, are all factor”, he said.
Muhammad added that the JAMB must determine cut-off points according to the realities on ground.
Also, Mr Ibrahim Binji, a lecturer with the Sokoto State University, said lowering of university cut-off marks had no serious impact on the university system, provided the learning and supervision mechanism remained intact.
He said when the students were admitted, all the initial grades would be kept aside and the students would have to struggle to achieve minimum standards for retention, continuation and graduation in whatever course of study.
According to him, lowering the cut off marks will not have serious impacts on the system, so long as standards and procedures during the learning process are not altered to subdue the graduation requirements.
Another University Don, Dr Danladi Sokoto, said the entrance procedures should not be so lenient to the extent of over-populating tertiary institutions , especially the universities.
Sokoto, who is a lecturer in the Geography Department of Federal University, Futsinma, Katsina state, stressed the need to safeguard the minimum entrance standards and routine measurements of students performance.
Also, Prof. Habu Mohammed, lecturer at the Political Science Department, Bayero University, Kano (BUK), said lowering of UTME cut-off marks would not affect quality of tertiary education in the country.
“This year, most of the candidates failed, according to statistics, and that is why JAMB lowered the cut-off points for entrance into tertiary institutions.
“So, for universities, instead of the normal 180 been the general entry points, they reduced it to 140. “That has nothing to do with the quality of tertiary education; standard for admission by the universities will not change,” he argued.
He pointed out that big universities will start admission with normal 180 as entry point; they will only admit those with marks below 180 after accepting those with points above 180, if they still have spaces,” he said.
In Gusau, the Dean, Faculty of Education, Federal University, Dr Bashir Sulaiman, is also of the view that lowering UTME cut-off marks has no adverse effects.
According to him, the minimum 140 mark is average, and that when average students get in to the university, some of them might improve.
A Senior Lecturer, Federal College of Education (Technical), Gusau, Mr Nasiru Zabarma, said lowering the marks will give ample opportunities for the teeming youths to secure admission into universities.
Dr Muttaqha Rabe-Darma, a senior lecturer with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Bayero University, Kano, said there must be set standard for quality to be achieved, otherwise the purpose of the UTME would be defeated.
“If JAMB continues to change the cut-off marks, it means the UTME is not even a valid thing in our education system, then it should be scrapped ”, he suggested.