Former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili has said that decision of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to reduce the cut off mark for admission into Nigerian universities to 120 was like running a race from top to bottom.
According to her, the exam body has outlived the purpose for which it was established.
Ezekwesili told newsmen in Abuja on Saturday that rather than conduct entrance examination for university admission, JAMB should only be made to play a regulatory role while universities are granted autonomy to conduct their own entrance examinations and determine the quality of students they want to admit and set their own standards.
While noting that the 120 cut off the mark set by JAMB is not a ceiling, she stressed that the question to be asked should be whether the floor of 120 is sufficient to give a university the right raw materials to train in other to make them world class human capital.
“I will say no and there has to be much more intensity in determining hat the qualification attribute should be and once we do that, it will set us way back to early child education,” she said, adding that “When I see society screening about this cut off mark they have done, I say you are wasting tears on a symptom. “
“You need to go to the root of the problem and that means we need to go back to the first phase in education which is early child care, basic education and secondary education which ultimately determine the readiness of our children to university education.”
She explained that the idea of establishing JAMB was that in a federal system, the government wanted to find a means of equalizing standard and to ensure that you set the bar in a way that brings in everybody.
According to her, “What you then have to look at is, does it continue to be relevant as a standard setting mechanism to actually determine who gets to what University and how? I would say not anymore.”