“outrageous! Where exactly is she expected to get money to pay for her fees and to think she worked so hard to get a good result”.
This was the lamentation of a lady whose niece had just been offered an admission to one of the private universities in Nigeria.
According to her, the niece had studied very hard to be able to get admission to one of the federal universities mainly because they are less expensive, She did very well but instead of her choice university, she was given admission to an expensive private university which wasn’t even her choice.
Instead of celebrations over her success, it was tears over school fees. According to the lady, their only option now was her niece to rewrite the exam but then, what was the guarantee that Joint Administration and Matriculation Board (JAMB) – Nigerian Body which organises entrance examinations into Nigerian Universities, would not do the same thing again? Plus is it not a waste of time and money to retake an examination that was passed very well the first time?
It was a pathetic story indeed, and this story probably reflects the heart of many Nigerian families saddled with the responsibility of making sure their wards get a higher education at the very least.
On further investigation, I found a post from JAMB on a local online news portal stating that candidates still had the option of writing the Post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in the Universities of their first choice.
According to the story, the Spokesperson for JAMB, Mr Fabian Benjamin, said they had decided to listen to the plight of the students and thus created this option.
For me, this is a good development. Again, we have a “Government” listening to the people, but I must state unequivocally that a long-term solution is needed.
We need to ask ourselves, “What exactly is our long term plan for our Educational system?”
To start with, the reason why JAMB redistributed the candidates to Universities not chosen by them was because some of the Universities were over-crowded with students while some didn’t have as much students.
They failed in my opinion to also consider that not all the students can afford to pay the fees of these very expensive universities.
For the redistribution of students to work, the all the Universities would have to be affordable and go all the way to offer good education.
It is a known fact that Nigerian youths are studying outside the country mainly because their parents have lost confidence in our educational system which have been notorious for outrageous strike actions especially by the staff of the Universities. This often bordered on a clamour for increase in salaries.
There is also the case of lack of facilities in the schools. The Private Universities are well funded with facilities for learning and were supposed to bridge this gap and bring some restoration back into the system. However, they are so outrageously expensive and unaffordable by many Nigerian families.
It makes me wonder what future we are creating for our Nation if we can’t provide good affordable education for our youths.
Once upon a time, students had the option of applying for scholarships. This word has become extinct in our educational system in recent times.
There was the debate of increase in universities fees, stating that it is what is obtainable in developed countries. When the question about affordability by majority of Nigerians was raised, the reply that came was student loans.
It is funny to say the least. In a country where majority of the graduates are without jobs, how will the concept of student loans work? How would the student pay off the loans if jobs are not readily available?
I appeal to those in authority, especially those in our educational sector to review our educational policies and the entire system with a view to coming up with lasting solutions that will ensure quality education for our youths.
They are the future.