The Nigeria Baptist Convention, on Saturday, criticised the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof Is-haq Oloyede, for confronting pupils and a teacher of the Baptist Girls Academy in Lagos State over alleged overcharging of JAMB fees, as seen in a video widely circulated online.
The NBC, in a statement by its Chairman, Education Management Board, Prof Oyesoji Aremu, titled ‘JAMB Fee: Prof. Oloyede’s Media Trial of Baptist Girls Academy,’ described the encounter, captured during a tour of a registration centre in Lagos, as “disheartening and disturbing.”
At the tour, which occurred on April 28, Oloyede is seen questioning the supervising teacher and his pupils on the cost of the JAMB registration. Asked by the JAMB registrar to provide information on their JAMB registration fees, the pupils claimed to pay N8,000 each, while the teacher insisted that it is actually N4,700.
But Aremu argued that the question of the alleged N8,000 collected by pupils ought to have been properly investigated by the JAMB registrar before subjecting the school and the teacher, who took the girls out for registration, to “emotional trial and public opprobrium.”
He said, “In the video clip, Prof. Oloyede assumed the role of a ‘prosecutor and judge’ against the defenseless teacher, Mr Kayode Oloyede, who was also on a scheduled assignment. Here, one of Mr Oloyede’s students was the witness.
“In the video clip, the JAMB Registrar, Prof Is-haq Oloyede, publicly put on ‘trial’ Mr Oloyede, a teacher at Baptist Girls Academy. This put some questions on the social image of the teacher, and on the public image of Baptist mission schools in Nigeria.”
According to the convention, the breakdown of the charges included JAMB registration (N3,500); novel, which he said was recommended and provided by JAMB (N500); Computer-Based Test charges (N700), Test Driller software and installation – CBT practice kit (N2,000); and transportation and feeding (N1,300).
He noted that the fee was charged with the consent of the parents through the Parents Teachers’ Association platform, adding that the academy was a private school not funded by the government.
“Beyond what Prof Oloyede made the public to believe by singling out one of the Baptist mission schools, it is in the public domain that other private schools in Nigeria charged fees that ranged between N10,000 and N25,000 (depending on services that will be provided during the examinations for the student),” he added.
But JAMB, responding in a statement by its Head, Public Affairs and Protocol, Dr Fabian Benjamin, explained that Oloyede had held a press conference during a scheduled inspection of the ongoing 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination registration exercise in the South-West.
He added that the JAMB registrar then proceeded to a board-approved UTME registration centre to assess the registration there, where a journalist asked why some centres and perhaps schools were charging higher fees than the prescribed fee by the board.
The statement read, “On the collection of higher fees above the prescribed fee, the registrar said he was not aware of any large-scale extortion going on anywhere other than the exception of some elite secondary schools that are in the habit of illegitimately collecting money in the name of the board.
“While the interview was ongoing, the journalists spotted a group of students and drew the attention of the registrar to them, insinuating that they could be among those involved in group registration. Consequently, the registrar invited them to come and meet him.”
According to Benjamin, the registrar, knowing there are administrative channels for addressing such “abnormalities,” asked the “most senior journalist” to consider the encounter an off-the-record incident and that he was given that assurance by all the reporters through their senior colleague.
“The board would want to dissuade the public from misinterpreting this happenstance. It should be noted that the board had, on some occasions, had cause to also sanction faith-based schools located in the northern part of the country with no eyebrows raised from any quarter.
“The board wishes to reiterate that it has always been its core policy to sanction any school that collects a dime above the approved UTME fee, particularly when such exercises are linked to the board’s hard-earned name and integrity. It does so without any fear or favour of any religious or ethnic group,” it said.