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No uniform UTME minimum score for admission

Raphael Jov, Abuja

There is a layer of misconceptions on what is generally described as “uniform minimum national Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) score” for admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

For long, many candidates and some members of the general public have come under erroneous impression that there is a minimum national UTME score, which they also refer to as “cut -off point”.

The truth is that there is no one particular national minimum UTME score for all Universities, Polytechnics or Colleges of Education in Nigeria. It has never been.

Similarly, in most cases, UTME score is not the sole determinant of placement of candidates into tertiary institutions.

The undue attention to the so-called national minimum UTME score (UTME cut-off point) is a major source of failure of many ill-informed candidates who assumed that they have finally attained the benchmark having achieved the so called minimum national score or “cut off point’ for admission.

It is therefore a double jeopardy for many candidates who swallow the popular myth that there is a uniform UTME score (cut-off) for all Universities, Polytechnics or Colleges of Education in Nigeria.

The myth also incorporates the erroneous impression that it is only the UTME score that constitutes the benchmark for admission. These are far from the truth.

Such candidates on attainment of particular grade in UTME celebrate in advance their imminent placements, which in reality may not be at the end of the day.

The Board has repeatedly stated that:
1) No uniform minimum UTME score (cut -off) for all Universities, Polytechnics or Colleges of Education in Nigeria; each Institution determines and submits to JAMB its minimum UTME score; after having analyzed the UTME performances of its applicants against its available quota.

Decisions at the annual Policy Meeting on Admission does not reduce the minimum prescription of the institutions except the few institutions whose submitted minimum UTME- scores fall below what the Policy Meeting considers as the minimum score acceptable.

2) UTME score is just one of the two or three scores that are generally added together to obtain the eventual aggregate score and ranking of the candidates.

Other parameters are Post-UTME /Post -A/L qualifications screening/test score; O/L grade score; and in some cases, physical test (such as applicable in the Nigerian Defence Academy/Police Academy).

Therefore, It is the score from all the segments that are added together to have eventual ranking table or “cut off” score.

For the 2020 admission exercise, for example, no candidate with a UTME score of 209 can be considered for admission into any programme at the Pan African University (PAN) whose minimum UTME score is 210.

Also, no candidate with a UTME score of 199 can be admitted into any of the following universities whose minimum score is 200.

i. Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife;
ii. University of Ibadan;
iii. Covenant University, Ota;
iiii. University of Lagos;and
v. University of Benin
No candidate with a score less than 180 can be admitted into many of the universities including, the Lagos State University(190); Afe Babalola University(180);Nigerian Army University, Biu (180);University of Jos (180); University of Abuja (180); Redeemers University(180) University of Ilorin (180); Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (180), Bayero University Kano(180); Alex Ekwueme University(180) and PAMO University of Medical sciences, Port Hacourt(180)
Similarly for Polytechnics; no candidate with a UTME score of 199 is admissible into the School of Orthopedic Cast Technology,Ilorin, which has set 200 as its minimum UTME score; just as the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Imo State has set a minimum UTME score of 180; Airforce Institute of Technology, Kaduna(170) and Abdu Gusau Polytechnic, Talata Mafara, Zamfara State (160)
As for the Colleges of Education, the 100 minimum score being paraded is not generally correct because no candidate can be admitted into any of the following Coleges of Education with a UTME score less than 180 :
i. College of Education, Maru, Zamfara State;

ii. Federal College of Education, Eha-Amufu, Enugu State.

iii. Akwa Ibom State College of Education, Afaha-Nsit, Akwa Ibom State.

iiii. Onit Colleg of Education, Mbaukwu, Anambra State.

In the category of Innovation Enterprise Institutions, the minimum UTME score for some of the institutions are as follows:
i. Laurel School of Mines, Ogudu, Lagos – 180;

ii. NTA College, Jos – 170; and
iii. Oluaka Institute of Technology, Owerri,- 150

Again, it is important to note that there are cases of candidates with UTME scores of above 300 that may eventually rank below some other candidates with UTME score of 200 when all other scores are aggregated.

Even within each institution, there is a different minimum score (cut –off) for admission into different programmes (courses).

They are usually significantly higher for courses such as MBBS, Engineering, Nursing, Law, etc, with overall available space of less than 10% of the applicants.

The Board has over the years reiterated the above points to senitizise the general public on the so the called national minimum scores for all tertiary institutions which has continued to generate confusion on the quality of candidates being admitted into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

It is also noted that UTME is a ranking examination designed to place the best available registered candidates into Universities, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and other accredited tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

As such, the minimum scores into each institution or programme varies; based on academic performances of candidates who applied to such institutions.

Over the years, few programmes such as MBBS, Engineering, Law and Pharmacy are oversubscribed by candidates.

Also, some of the institutions attract more candidates than many others, thereby making it imperative for each institution to set its own minimum score, based on its circumstances and as approved at the Policy Meeting.

The Board had always published on its website (www.jamb.gov.ng) full details of minimum UTME score for each institution.

The body has also always reminded candidates to note that each programme (course) has a different minimum score which is usually very high for competitive programmes.

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A prolific writer of about two decades standing experience
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