The House of Representatives on Thursday urged the Federal Ministry of Education to make university and other tertiary education accessible and affordable in the country.
It urged that the cost of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) application forms and process should be reviewed downward to about 50 percent from the current N7,000 to not more than N3, 000.
This followed a motion by James Faleke at plenary on the “urgent need for Review of the Cost of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) Application Form.”
Faleke, moving the motion, said that Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) was said to have remitted N7.8 billion to Federal Government, being excess of the N12 billion made from sales of UTME forms.
He said that the money was made in 2017 at N7, 500 for each form, excluding incomes from the sale of other forms such as Change of Course and Change of University, at the rate of N5, 000 each.
He explained that an estimated 250,000 candidates purchased the UTME forms, bringing the income from sales of the forms to estimated sum of N2.4 billion per year.
Faleke further explained that the cost did not include the Post-UMTE conducted by universities at an average cost of N2,500 per candidate, excluding expenses made on logistics.
JAMB not profit making venture
The lawmaker maintained that JAMB had a surplus of N7 billion budget in 2017, from sale of forms only, making the Board a profit-making venture “to the detriment of educational and social development of the country’’.
“JAMB as a government agency is not set up for profit-making but to promote educational development of the young citizens in pursuit of professional careers.
“The proliferation of universities to 120, 83 polytechnics, 82 colleges of education and other tertiary institutions under JAMB is portraying it as a profit-making venture.’’
Faleke stated that being the first time such amount was returned to government coffers by any government agency, JAMB deserved commendation for upholding the Federal Government’s anti-corruption policies.
“I believe that education, being a pivot upon which relational development of the nation rests, should be made available to citizens at the barest minimum cost,” he said.
Many lawmakers were in support of the motion and it was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.
The Committee on Tertiary Education and Services was mandated to ensure compliance with the resolution and report back in two weeks.