‘Private varsities not responsible for scandalous cut-off marks’
• Blame Fed Govt —CVCRPU
Private universities in the country have vehemently rejected complicity in the scandalous scaling down of cut-off mark for admission into universities, polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education for the next academic session.
Data released last week by spokesperson of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) Dr. Fabian Benjamin, gave the impression that most private universities had already settled for 120 as their minimum cut-off mark before the board and other stakeholders involved in tertiary education across the country decided to toe the same line.
It was also alleged that very poor student enrolment experienced by these privately-owned institutions, played a vital role in the infamous decision, which has drawn the ire of many.But the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Registrars of Private Universities (CVCRPU), is insisting that, “Private universities had no hand at all in what JAMB did.”
Shortly after JAMB announced the decision, founder of Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Afe Babalola (SAN), slammed the Federal Government for taking such a step, describing the reduction as violence to the country’s university system, and a major setback to quality education.
In a statement to that effect, Babalola expressed worries that the decision was taken without due consideration for several factors, including its implication on the quality of tertiary education.
“What is the whole essence of reducing cut-off marks for admission to as low as 120 for universities and 100 for polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education? Will such an action enhance or reduce the quality of education?
“Will it give international recognition to the degrees awarded by the Nigerian universities, which in any case, are already being questioned? Is the reduction a deliberate ploy to make things worse?” Babalola queried.
In absolving private varsities of complicity, chair of CVCRPU and Vice Chancellor, Redeemer’s University (RUN), Professor Debo Adeyewa said, “As Chairman of vice chancellors of private universities, I can say categorically that we had no hand, directly or indirectly. JAMB only acted in the interest of university autonomy and the country. After all, public universities also went below 180. We at RUN maintained our status quo and sent in 180 to JAMB, but unfortunately that was not reflected. I think JAMB assembled the initial figures sent to the board before the policy meeting.
After the meeting it was now agreed that universities should go back and review their cut-off marks … JAMB was also aware that some of the highly regarded universities abroad take these candidates with low scores in JAMB, and even come to recruit them here and they still do well. Now, they are accusing private universities of lowering standards. It’s quite unfortunate, and who do we blame in all of this? The Federal Government is to be blamed. To me it is like you are selling some goods and you say item A is N100, while item B will cost N1000, and so on. You determine the prize of the goods without allowing market forces to come in, so you have given the impression that this is the cost of the material.”
While questioning why some parents feel comfortable sending their children and wards to private schools at the primary and secondary levels, where charges are quite high, only to complain that private universities charge high fee, Adeyewa said this development may have forced some private universities to lower their standards (accept low cut-off mark) in order to have enough to pay staff salaries and other expenditures.
“Realistically, every university in the country should begin to get government support. One of the arguments in the said report was that there is poor quality in private universities, and I’m not happy about that because everyone knows that not all federal universities are of good standard, same with state and private. So, what is the argument about? He asked.