Many Nigerians have joined voice with Olisa Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to condemn the federal government’s endorsement of inequality in the cut-off marks for admission into the country’s unity schools.
The federal government recently announced the results of the 2022 National Common Entrance Examination (NCEE) to the 110 Federal Government Colleges across the country also known as Unity Schools.
Adamu Adamu, the minister of education while announcing the results disclosed that children from certain states were given higher cut-off marks compared to some other states.
For instance, candidates from Abia State were required to score 130, Anambra State -139, Delta State -131, Enugu State -134, Imo State -138, Lagos State -133, and Ogun State -131.
And candidates from Kebbi State were given -2 and 20, Taraba -3 and 11, Yobe -2 and 27, and Zamfara State -4 and 2 for males and females respectively.
Experts in the education sector who bared their minds to BusinessDay condemned the arrangement whereby some children are robbed of their rights because they are from certain states of the federation.
This, they said is an endorsement of inequality in learning, and mirrors a lack of direction and insincerity on the part of the government.
Stanley Alaubi, a senior lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt, frowned at the system which according to him is geared to encourage mediocrity.
“Why would some candidates from certain states be given preferred treatment by issuing such ridiculous cut-off marks to them when all the schools in the country are using the same curriculum, and the students are meant to work in the same labour market?
“This is destroying our education system, and it is very dangerous. It is pointing out the rot in the country’s government,” he stated.
Friday Erhabor, a public affairs analyst affirmed that the disparity in the cut-off mark is to breach the gap between the educationally disadvantaged states and the rest of the states. However, he said that one would have expected that by now, the gap would have been narrowed after decades that this policy was introduced.
“It has become counter-productive because it has not encouraged seriousness on the so-called disadvantaged states. By now, one would have expected the states concerned to come up with deliberate policies to encourage their students to compete with students from other states,” he said.
For Ebitare Boroh, a lecturer in the department of Sociology Anthropology at the Federal University Otuoke in Bayelsa State this totally unacceptable.
“You can’t be denying a region admission into unity schools while other regions are trooping in with little or no score all in the name of less education disadvantaged state.
“It should be condemned in its entire entirety by all well-meaning Nigerians. The cut-off mark should be uniform, the same way the JAMB cut-off mark is.
“Chinedu cannot score 120 and denied admission in Unity School just because he is from Anambra while Adamu from Katsina will score 20 and gain admission into Unity School because he is from Katsina State,” he said.
Zikora Ibeh, a policy, and research analyst at Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa said the cut-off mark system which requires candidates from southeast and southwest states to score significantly higher marks than their counterparts from the North or those states tagged educationally-less-developed states in Nigeria is an unfair practice that not only upholds injustice but also promotes mediocrity. It must be said that this is unhealthy.
“There is a reason why the abnormality of varying cut-off marks exists and even some states are considered educationally less developed than others in Nigeria. It is not the fault of the students nor is it really in a bid to ensure the uniform development of the country’s educational sector.
“It is instead. on account of our poor governance systems and the regrettable failure of state authorities to invest in a basic structure for fair learning, and it is a total reflection of the government’s schemed politicking.
“Such a rotten system will end up producing below-par students that will cause disaster in the workplace tomorrow,” she said.
Agbakoba, had argued for restructuring, and devolution of powers over education, to state governments.
The renowned legal practitioner who spoke on Arise Television news on how to improve education in Nigeria frowned at a situation where candidates in different federation states have different cut-off marks to enter the same school.
“It is an imbalance for children going to the same school to be required to have different waited marks. That is complete imbalance!” he said.
This he said is not good for the unity of the country.