During the 2023 policy meeting, the Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian universities engaged in in-depth discussions and deliberations. They recognized the importance of maintaining academic standards while also ensuring fair opportunities for prospective students. The decision to establish a minimum benchmark of 140 for university admissions aimed to strike a balance between these two objectives.
The universities’ autonomy in determining their individual cut-off marks was acknowledged, allowing them to consider factors such as the competitiveness of their programs, the quality of applicants, and their specific academic requirements. However, it was emphasized that no candidate scoring below the agreed-upon benchmark of 140 would be eligible for admission into any university.
Amidst the various proposals put forward by universities, the Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos stood apart by suggesting a higher benchmark of 220. This proposal sparked discussions among the attendees, highlighting the diversity of opinions and approaches among educational institutions.
On the other hand, a group of approximately 15 universities, primarily from the private sector, recommended lowering the benchmark to 120. They argued that this would widen access and provide opportunities for a more diverse range of applicants. However, this suggestion was ultimately rejected, considering the overall consensus reached during the meeting.
The involvement of the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Andrew Adejoh, added further weight to the decisions made. Acknowledging the voices of the majority, he affirmed that the minimum benchmark for university admissions would indeed be set at 140. This decision aimed to ensure a level playing field for students while upholding the integrity and standards of Nigerian universities.
The policy meeting also addressed the admissions criteria for polytechnics and Colleges of Education. For polytechnics, a minimum benchmark of 100 was established, providing opportunities for students interested in pursuing technical and vocational education. Similarly, Colleges of Education adopted the same benchmark of 100, ensuring consistency across different types of educational institutions.
The 2023 policy meeting of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board represented a collaborative effort to define admission benchmarks that balanced academic standards and equitable access to education. By setting minimum requirements, universities sought to maintain the quality and integrity of their programs while nurturing a diverse student body capable of contributing to Nigeria’s educational landscape and society as a whole.