- Universities exploiting candidates with UTME – NUT
Different educational bodies, associations and stakeholders have called on the federal government to probe the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board over recurring irregularities in the conduct of its examinations in recent times.
The National President of Association of Tutorial School Owners of Nigeria, Mr. Oludotun Sodunke, who made the call in Lagos, alleged that there were fraudulent activities going on within the JAMB management.
Sodunke said that the examination body realised about N9billion every year from sale of different forms to prospective candidates such as the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination; change of institution form, direct entry form, among others.
The ATSO’s president alleged that JAMB’s registrar, Professor Dibu Ojerinde, might have been exploiting Nigerians through various means.
He said, “JAMB should be probed because the fraudulent activities going on there is becoming unbearable. All in the name of financial autonomy, the body collects billions of Naira yearly from candidates. The amount realised from the UTME form sale alone is about N7billion after charges for logistics had been deducted; the change of institution form is purchased by about one million candidates, while the candidates who successfully gain admission into any institution must also pay for the original JAMB result slip.”
Sodunke further alleged that what JAMB was doing was to frustrate the public institutions because of ‘money,’ which had been collected from the private universities. He accused JAMB of applying redistribution approach in its scheme.
“Ojerinde might have collected some money from private institutions and promised them an inflow of students, so that those who couldn’t gain admission into the public institutions will either purchase another form next year or opt for the available institutions, which are private universities,” he stressed.
He urged the Ministry of Finance and the Federal Government not to be silent on the alleged misappropriation of funds going on in the examination body, insisting that the alleged fraud going on there is a major problem.
“His plan is to make sure the body gives candidates provisional admission. If only the money is going into the government account, such as the Treasury Single Account, it would have been better. Government should tackle the problem of fraud and clear the mess going on there,” he added.
In the same vein, the National President of Nigerian Union of Teachers, Mr. Michael Olukoya, has said that as an association, the NUT was not in support of scrapping the post-UTME examination because of bogus marks given to candidates, only to find out later that such students do not perform excellently in their various institutions.
However, he said the exploitation of students by Nigerian universities wasn’t a good measure either in the name of post-UTME.
He said, “Where we expect the government to come in as a regulator is for the UTME to be sustained because we want Nigerian universities to be opened to the most qualified ones. Therefore, fees should be introduced, but it should not be exorbitant. For instance, N2,000 should be considered.” Olukoya said that going back to the way the examination used to be could be the lasting solution: “Let us go back to the way it used to be whereby individual university conducted their entrance examination to avoid complaints.”
He also noted that JAMB and universities were using various opportunities to exploit students. He said that the Ministry of Education was expected to put a check on them and give them rules under which they would conduct the examination.
Olukoya, corroborating ATSO, averred that JAMB should be probed. “Why is it at the conduct of examination that they have bad stories to tell, especially the results. It is high time the administration of Buhari to brought their searchlight on the activities of JAMB. When they do this, then we can come to the conclusion if JAMB is still desirable or otherwise.”
On his part, the chairman of the governing council and Professor of Educational Management, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Tunde Samuel, also reviewed the situation.
He said his concern was the quality assurance of the end results (graduates). “JAMB is a mere clearing house that has the mandate of conducting examination, while universities should determine the materials they would bring in. According to the Nigerian education law, JAMB has no power when it comes to man development of the nation. It should primarily take care of duplicate admission letters and to allow more Nigerians to have access to university education system. Its power should not exceed that.”
Samuel clarified the raging issue of the screening fee, saying that it is not a mandatory fee for securing admission into the university.
“I will like to clarify that the fee is not compulsory. It is voluntary. That is where we are missing the point. Nobody is asking anyone to pay. The university has the right to determine who should come in and the final product. The fee is only mandatory for those who have selected some federal universities. If you have not chosen any of these universities, nobody will force you to come for screening. Candidates can forego their admission because of N2, 500. It is a matter of choice. There are some people that have been looking for the admission for years, would you expect such a person to forfeit the admission?” he said.
Furthermore, the West African Examination Council’s Public Affairs Officer, Mr. Demianus Ojijeogu, has said that if the Point System was introduced, the pressure would be on the candidates who would want to deploy all means, including illegitimate practices to ensure they pass all their subjects in one sitting and as well, score high grades.
He however said that, on its part, the body was putting all measures in place to implement the laws guiding the conduct of examinations to the letter.
Meanwhile, when asked to react to the allegations of financial impropriety within the organisation, JAMB’s Head, Media and Information, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, declined commenting, saying, “I don’t have any response to that. Put it there that I don’t have any response.”