Some parents and guardians in Plateau State have described as “very exorbitant,’’ the N1,500 they were being charged by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for scratch card to access the examination result.
The parents, who spoke in Jos, Pakshin and other towns in the state, accused the examination body of extorting money from students and parents with all manners of charges.
“The charges are strange. Last year, we used the JAMB registration number to check the scores. We were not expecting something different this year,’’ Mr Gotong Nanman, a parent told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Pankshin.
He said he was very surprised when his niece brought the request to him, and alleged that JAMB was not sensitive to the harsh realities facing poor Nigerians.
Nanman recalled that he spent N5,000 to purchase the JAMB form, and another N1,500 was a huge burden, especially since there was a mass failure this year. Another parent, Mrs. Angela Gomos, a staff of the NYSC office in Jos, said the charges the board was imposing on parents were “uncalled for considering the amount spent in registering the candidates.’’
“We were expecting the board to be considerate; if they were going to insist on any scratch card, we believe that it should not have been more than N200,’’ she said.
She noted that aside the JAMB charge, about N500 would be spent to browse the results in cyber cafés.
Another parent, Mr. Danjuma Dumak, argued that JAMB was making billions of naira since more than one million candidates sat for the university admission test.
He urged the federal government to intervene to save poor people from such pains since many parents had consistently registered for the examinations in the last five years. “The National Assembly should also ask JAMB to explain what is happening. They (lawmakers) represent us and should intervene in this matter,’’ he said.
Reacting, JAMB’s Head of Public Relations, Mr. Fabian Benjamin, said that the complaining parents were doing that out of ignorance.
“Many of them are not aware of the activities of the board; we are trying so hard to reduce the cost of this examination.
“If we are to charge according to the services we render, each candidate will pay nothing less than N10, 000 but government has consistently subsidised the services and that is why the registration form costs only N4,000.’’
He rejected suggestions that JAMB was making profit from the admission process, saying that it was usually a tedious route from the registration to the point of admission to admit a qualified candidate.
Benjamin claimed that the scratch card had diverse uses, pointing out that its cost was not enough to cover its services.
“All universities, colleges of education and polytechnics are involved in the entire process and each of them is entitled to a certain percentage,’’ he said.
According to him, “what the board realises is used to pay people that set the questions, those that mark the scripts, and those that enter them into the master system.
“The process cannot be said to be completed until we reach the point of admission to the candidates; this demands a lot of funds.
“You also remember that from May 17 to May 29, we shall conduct computer examination for prison inmates in Lagos and Katsina as part of our rehabilitation programmes. Just try to imagine how much that will cost,’’ he said.