Importance of JAMB in Nigeria Today Explained

 Every Nigerian student knows or even probably dreads the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) organized by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board popularly referred to as JAMB.


This post is targeted at highlighting some of the importance of JAMB in Nigeria. There is no gainsaying that JAMB constitutes an integral part of the educational system in Nigeria and their initiatives are aimed at improving the quality of the system.

What You Should Know About JAMB

Established in 1978, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is the governmental agency saddled with the responsibility of making sure that they conduct an examination to check for suitable candidates that would be matriculated into the tertiary institutions in the country. 


Shortly after its establishment, the law that made for its establishment was amended to include the conduct of matriculation examination for polytechnics, monotechnics, colleges of education, and other tertiary institutions. 

The goal is to solve the issue of the reduced standards in the admission process into tertiary institutions in Nigeria while creating an all-round uniformity. 

It is the responsibility of JAMB to conduct the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for admission into Nigerian tertiary institutions. 


Before it came to be called Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), it was called the University Matriculation Examination (UME) and it was specially designed for university candidates while prospective candidates into monotechnics, polytechnics, and colleges of education wrote MPCE. 
Running the examination separately for university candidates and another one for monotechnics, polytechnics, and colleges of education incurred costs and took a lot of time.

They decided to bring both together to ensure the establishment of a balanced and fair selection for admission. By bringing both exams together, it was then called the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

Without further ado, let’s get into the main deal of this piece – the importance of JAMB in Nigeria.

5 Importance of JAMB in Nigeria Today

We have highlighted some of the reasons why JAMB is very important in Nigeria. Their role in the educational system in Nigeria can not be overemphasized.

UTME and DE Examination

As I stated during the introduction of this article, one of the importance of UTME in Nigeria is the conduction of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) is designed as a selection process to restrict the entry of unqualified candidates into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This is important so that the educational system is not perforated with unscrupulous prospects. 

Every year, the board stipulates a requirement called “cut off mark” for each course and tertiary institution. This cut off mark is the primary determinant in the admission process. 

Only persons who get up to the corresponding stipulated cut off mark for course and institution will be eligible for admission.

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Also, Direct Entry (DE) candidates are not left out as JAMB is also responsible for setting their cut off mark and conducting exams for them. 

Direct Entry (DE) candidates are special candidates who have bagged a level of educational qualification higher than Ordinary Level Certificates (O-Level) and are seeking admission into the university. 

These candidates have acquired either one of a National Diploma (ND), Higher National Diploma (HND), or a National Certificate of Education (NCE). 

JAMB also organizes exams for these set of people for admission into the university. 

Defining and Setting Admission Requirements 

Another benefit of JAMB in Nigeria is to define and set admission requirements for all institutions. It is the responsibility of the board to create and define requirements for admission into each university for a course of study. 

To do this, JAMB partners with other academic and examination bodies to set the admission requirements yearly. The requirements for getting admitted into a Nigerian university or polytechnic are usually based on credit passes in four or five relevant subjects including Maths and English and reaching the stipulated cut-off mark.

What this means is that, for a student to become eligible for admission, he or she must have gotten credit passes in O-Level subjects related to his or her preferred course of study and that includes Maths and English.

Also, they must get the cut-off mark that JAMB has stipulated for that university and the course of study. Only when these conditions are met can a candidate become eligible for admission.

The setting of admission requirements is important. This is because a lot of students use crude means to bypass the hurdle of O-Level exams.

In order not to grant admission to unqualified candidates while ensuring there is enough room for qualified prospects, these admission requirements process is quintessential. 

Granting Admission To Qualified Students 

Another importance of JAMB in Nigeria is that they give qualified candidates admission and possibly place them in institutions of their choice. 

By taking factors such as candidate’s preference, available spaces in a tertiary institution, and requirement from the authorities of the tertiary institution, the board can grant a candidate admission once the qualification requirements are met. 

They are also responsible for the placement of Direct Entry (DE) candidates in their preferred institution. These candidates must have acquired certain levels of entry qualifications such as Higher National Diploma (HND), National Diploma (ND), Advanced Level Certificates (A-Level), National Certificate of Education (NCE), and so on and are seeking admission into universities. 

For both UTME and DE candidates, JAMB grants admission and provides placement into institutions all over Nigeria. 

Ensuring Relevant Syllabus Development

One of the crises that have plagued the Nigerian educational system for years is the issue of the syllabus for students. 

The syllabus is often a shadow of the expectation of students and it is one of the leading factors that cause Nigerian students to be shortchanged and unable to compete with their counterparts. 

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To solve this backdrop, JAMB reviews and updates the syllabus for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and the Direct Entry examination so that it meets the educational needs of the students while ensuring it remains relevant. 

Questions for the examinations are derived from the syllabus and students are required to extensively cover the syllabus before they seat for their exams. 

Intermediary Between Prospective Students and Tertiary Institutions

Another very unique reason why JAMB is important in Nigeria is that they act as an intermediary between the tertiary institution applicants and the institutions themselves.

They follow up with tertiary institutions to ensure they are complying with their demands and the demands of sister bodies such as the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), and National Board of Technical Education (NBTE).

Additionally, the board provides students with information concerning their admission status which has become more simplified thanks to the JAMB CAPS system.


It is evident from the points shared about the importance of JAMB in Nigeria that they hold a strategic and decisive position in the educational sector. 

Since many dread the idea of writing either of UTME or DE examinations, it is a crucial requirement that has helped keep the delicate balance of the nation’s educational system.

To this end, we can not talk down the importance of JAMB in Nigeria.