NIGERIA: FG Fixes 180 Cut-off Mark for Varsities, 150 for Others

The federal government has released the cut-off marks for admission to tertiary institutions for the 2013/2014 academic session with students seeking to enter any of the nation’s universities expected to score about 180 in this year's Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

Their counterpart seeking admission to polytechnics, monotechnics and  colleges of education are, however, expected to have a minimum score of 150 in the UTME; down from 160 in the previous year.

Announcing the cut-off scores after a combined policy committee meeting on admissions to tertiary institutions organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Abuja, Tuesday, the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqqayatu Ahmed Rufa'i, said the carrying capacity of the nation's universities had increased slightly to over 500,000 from about 469,000 in the last academic session.

This expansion, she said, was because of rehabilitation  and expansion  in the universities,  which were made possible by the N259.46 billion disbursed to tertiary institutions by the Tertiary Trust Fund (TETFUND) in the last three years.
The cut-off marks were arrived at after debates by representatives of various stakeholders on the need for a slight reduction in the prerequisite score for non-degree awarding institutions.

The cut off marks for the last academic year was 180 for universities and 160 for non-degree awarding institutions.
The decision to reduce the cut-off marks for the non-degree awarding institutions was hinged on the need to encourage candidates to apply  to the institutions.

Rufai, who moderated the meeting, harped on the need to encourage enrolment into technical and vocational training institutions, which still record low applications by admission seekers.

"A committee to work out modalities on how to boost the interest of students in the  vocational training institutions and expand the schools’ capacity has already been inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan under the chairmanship of Alhaji Aliko Dangote," she added.

"We should therefore collectively work towards encouraging more of our youths to enrol in these institutions, especially the innovation enterprise institutions, most of which are still having challenges filling their quotas" she said.

Rufa'i urged strict adherence to the federal government’s admission guidelines, which stipulate 70:30 technology/non-technology ratio for national diploma programmes and 60:40 science /arts ratio for degree and Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) programmes.

She added that the admission considerations would be based on merit and catchment area and consideration for less educationally developed states.

Earlier, JAMB Registrar, Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, had said submission  of admission lists by tertiary institutions would not be considered after October 31, adding that 86 innovative enterprise institutions have been approved to run programmes leading to the award of the National Innovative Diploma.

He explained that  the University of Benin (UNIBEN) had the highest number of applicants followed by the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) and University of Lagos (UNILAG), while the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State, had the highest number of applicants seeking admission to polytechnics.

About 1.7 million candidates sat for this year's UTME  with 91,000 opting for the newly introduced computer based test.

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