The House of Representatives has urged the federal ministry of education to review downward the cost of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) by about 50% from the current N7, 500.00 to not more than N3, 000.00.
The House, while adopting a motion by James Faleke (APC, Lagos) urged the Federal Ministry of Education to ensure that the cost of the other ‘ancillary forms’ for changes must be free or at the very barest minimum of N500.
These decisions were taken after a unanimous endorsement of the motion, in order to make university and other tertiary education accessible and affordable.
While leading debate on the motion, Fakele noted that the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) was said to have remitted the sum of N7.8 billion to the Federal Government being excess of the N12 billion made from sales of Unified Tertiary Examinations (UTME) application forms for University Admission in 2017 at the rate of N7, 500.00 each, excluding incomes from the sales of other forms such as Change of Course Forms and Change of University Forms at the rate of N5, 000.00 each.
He said an estimated 250,000 candidates purchased the UTME forms bringing the income from sales of the forms to the estimated sum of N2.4bn per year.
The lawmaker further noted that the cost does not include the Post UMTE Examinations that are conducted by Universities at an average cost of N2, 500 (Two Thousand Five Hundred Naira only) per candidate excluding the expenses made on logistics.
Faleke said he was aware that JAMB had a surplus of N7 billion budget in 2017.
According to him “the increase in the number of Universities from 12 at inception of JAMB in 1798, with less than 50,000 candidates to over 400 tertiary institutions with more than 1.7 million candidates writing the exams and indices shows only about 50% of those who wrote the examinations were admitted in the universities as at 2017.
“Further aware that JAMB as a government agency is not set up for profit making but to promote the educational development of the young citizens in pursuit of their professional career;
“Worried that the proliferation of Universities to 120, 83 Polytechnics, 82 Colleges of Education and other Tertiary Institutions under JAMB purview is portraying it as a profit-making venture.
“I was alarmed at the allegation of the huge sum of money missing from the vaults, burning of scratch cards, lending out money made from sales of application forms, conversion of proceeds from sales of application forms to loans and Image ’empowerment’ funds to private individuals and fictitious by stories by the officials of the board”
“That being the first time such an amount is being returned to government coffers by any government agency, the management of JAMB deserves commendation for upholding the Federal Government’s Anti-Corruption policies.
“Believes that education, being a pivot upon which relational development of the nation rests, should be made available to citizens at the barest minimum cost”
The motion was thereafter unanimously adopted and referred to the committee on basic education led by Hon. Zakari Mohammed (APC, Kwara) to ensure compliance and report back in two weeks.