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Adequate funding of education - not multiple examination and restrictive admission!

Statement of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC)
October 2005

The policy that suggests that when admission is restricted to 147,000 in the 75 federal universities and having to conduct multiple examinations (JAMB, and now the new Post-JAMB) is the effective way of resolving university education shows how reactionary and myopic the ruling class can be. This has been the postulation of Prof Peter Okebukola, the Executive Secretary of National University Commission and the Minister of Education, Mrs. Chinwe Obaji.

We in the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) hereby condemn the introduction of the Post-JAMB test and charging of fees for candidates seeking admission into university. This policy is just to put more excruciating burden and poverty on the candidates and their parents who have been daily subjected to untold hardship by various anti-poor policies of the government both federal and state level. Also it gives room for unnecessary and undue exploitation of candidates by university managements and banks across the country. For example, UNILAG raked in N90 million from 45,000 candidates, asides over N2 million realized by the designed banks and the additional N500 to JAMB for result slip. In some universities such as DELSU the candidates were compelled to pay as much as N5,000.

Going by the recent pronouncement by the Minister of Education, Mrs. Chinwe Obaji, after a meeting with the NUC, JAMB, the Vice Chancellors which subsequently resolved that candidates whom have chosen federal universities should cough out N1,000 as charges for the Post-JAMB test clearly shows that this government, as we always argued, has no solution to the collapse in the education sector and equally wants education to be an exclusive right of the children of rich, looters that ruined this nation. Candidates seeking admission to the state universities are left to undergo more suffering. Therefore, the N1,000 Post-JAMB test fee is not only callous but pure extortion and an attack on the working people.

The ERC is not in anyway opposed to conducting examinations, if only it is geared towards improving and identifying best area of training for candidates, after proper pre-university training have been given. But we are opposed to conducting examinations with the ultimate aim of extorting money from candidates and reducing drastically the number of candidates to be admitted into the university because of lack of adequate funding, improved and expansion of facilities etc. To that extent, JAMB, Post-JAMB and other examination bodies can do nothing or little, not just in the area of stopping examination malpractices but also upgrading educational standard if education is not adequately funded.

It is sadden to note that Nigeria, a country of over 130 million, our universities could only admit about 150,000 candidates. This year there was about 800,000 candidates sat for JAMB but only 147,000 candidates will be admitted into all the universities which is just about 18% of total candidates. About 82% has been cut off already for avoidable reasons and even the remaining 18% can not be given proper training for gross lack of the required facilities and manpower. So restricting admission to bare minimum can not address the problems associated with university education either.

Over N2 trilion is being made annually from sale of crude oil alone yet education attracts less than 4% from the budget contrary to 26% UNESCO’s recommendation, while $12 billion has been set aside for servicing the fictitious debt while education is in complete comatose.

ERC therefore demands for a halt to the N1,000 fee for the test, and, without exception, the complete and immediate refund of money extorted from candidates for the Post-JAMB exams.

We also oppose the privatisation of student hostel and commercialisation of education by introduction of obnoxious fees.

To us the only way to resolve the massive problem in the education sector like every other sector is to adequately fund the education sector from nursery to university level so as to make education free, qualitative, compulsory and guaranteed to all. Not only massive funding of education but also all the decision making bodies must have elected representatives of academic, non-academic staff, students representative, parents etc so that this fund will be judicious spent on provision and expansion of facilities to accommodate more students, improve welfare and working condition for both staff and students.

Wale Eleto
National Coordinator (ERC)