Many nations world over that perceive the education of its citizenry as part of capital and national development, have continuously ensured that its people have access to qualitative education by either offering them free education to certain level or making it affordable.
In Nigeria, it’s not clear if government is in that narrative, as the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has become a source of revenue generation for the Federal Government.
Speaking exclusively with Vanguard, yesterday, JAMB spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin said, “There is no section in the Act that established the Board that mandated it to generate revenue for the Federal Government. We are not generating revenue for the Federal Government. What we collect from candidates are liabilities for the service we have not rendered. But in the event whereby we have excess, it is only natural to know that it’s not ours, therefore, we return it to the government.
“It is not revenue we generate but excess of what we spent. It’s like giving a child N2,000 to do a job, and the child discovered he has executed the job with N1,000. A good child will say, ‘Daddy, this is what remains.’ What we have done is to demonstrate that we are transparent and return the left -over.
“That is why some people are arguing that if in five years we discovered we had that much, the best thing to do would have been to reduce the cost of the form. But before we can reduce the cost of a form, we have to ensure it is consistent for some years to avoid running into trouble in the future.”
The core functions of the Board as entrenched in its enabling Act are: “The general control of the conduct of matriculation examinations for admissions into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria. And the placement of suitably qualified candidates in the tertiary institutions having taken into account the vacancies available in each tertiary institution.”
However, the recent remittance of N8 billion by JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, to the national treasury and government’s intended probe into the previous registrars’ financial records, leaves one to wonder if the Board was created to generate revenue for the government. At the same time, it became obvious that the present registration fees of N5,500 for each candidate could be reduced to alleviate the suffering of the less privileged.