MeIshaq Oloyede, the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has denied that the examination body increased the fees for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) for 2024, explaining that the extra money being paid by candidates was a charge by operators of Computer Based Test (CBT) centres to assuage the high cost of diesel.
Oloyede disclosed this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education on Wednesday, saying JAMB only facilitated collecting the payments so that the operators would not exploit candidates.
He opined that some universities overshoot the number of students approved to be admitted for a session, which causes problems for the students. He promised to turn over the names of such institutions to the House Committee for further legislative action.
“I also feel their pain for the CBT centres because we also have about 45 owned by JAMB directly. We know what they are going through.
“JAMB does not pay the money but the students themselves. You know N700 for registration and N700 for examination, but given the cost of diesel this year, we only allowed them, not that we are paying them because we are collecting from the students and passing to the centres.
“This year, we are about announcing. The advertisement is just coming out. We will allow them to charge as much as N1500 for UTME because of the cost of diesel.
“But you can see in the press in the past week that JAMB has increased the cost. What we have done is to allow the CBT centres to charge more than they are charging. But because we will collect it for them, why are we collecting it if we leave them alone? They will extort the students, and they will be collecting N4000 or N5000. That is why we said pay to us, and we would transfer it to you weekly.
“We have raised it from N700 to N1500 effective 2024 to allow them to recoup. We have not increased the JAMB fee. We only allowed this person to charge a better fee by adding to what they were charging, but all the newspapers had reported that we had increased the charges.
“We are ready to give you the names; you don’t need to go far. There are many of them around. It is a general indiscipline. NUC gives the quota for universities, NBTE gives for polytechnics, and NCC gives for Colleges of Education. Unfortunately, some of these people would go, and not only would they get more, but they would not disclose the admission until candidates are ready to go to NYSC, and they cannot go because, without an admission letter, they can go.
“It is then they would talk about regularisation. How can you regularise what is not regular? So we are saying that you admitted a candidate four years ago, and we provided the data for the Bureau of Statistics; now, suddenly, about one million emerged that were not registered at all, and people would say it is JAMB who is holding them.
“We are holding them because they were not properly admitted. We would provide you a list of such people and you call them. Many of them would write letters of apology this year and would still do it next year and write another letter of apology. You cannot kill them.”
Oboku Ofoji, the Chairman of the Committee, urged the Board to reconcile its financial records with the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, noting that the interface with the examination body was not a witch-hunt but an effort to improve the educational sector in the country.
“I want also to clear one wrong impression that it is a witch-hunt. This job is about our country and the educational sector. So, for us to interface with you and see all the national television here, I thought that Jamb would appreciate this conversation openly. It goes a long way to inform Nigerians how prepared JAMB is. We all owe Nigerians explanations about our stewardship,” he said.