How Schools Hike WAEC, NECO Fees, Deny Poor Students Opportunities

Pelumi Abraham was looking gloomy as she stood beside her mistress in a hairdressing salon, handing her attachments while the mistress plaited a client’s hair.

She looked tired and lost, said nothing, nor contributed to the discussions going on in the saloon.

When she was asked if she was fine, she answered in the affirmative, but her mistress cut her short, saying, “the girl is angry because she was not able to complete her senior secondary school, as her parents could not register her for the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE).”

When the customer asked her how much the registration was, Pelumi responded that it was N40,000.

“My parents said there is no money to register me for WAEC and the school insisted that we must register both NECO and WAEC together. So they said I should wait until they are able to raise money, then they will register me with the next set,” she said.

She said: “I was forced to go and learn hairdressing and my greatest regret is that my mates will be ahead of me and I am not sure if my parents will be able to register me next year because then my younger sister will also be due to write senior secondary school leaving examination.”

Pelumi is not the only one who has lost out on completing her studies due to the inability of her parents to pay examination fees. Many students are found in this category, while some parents have become debtors just so their wards can write WAEC.

However, the registration of WAEC and NECO should not have been a big deal if school management stuck to the original fees of N13,950; an amount that WAEC has been charging for the registration of each candidate as far back as 2017. It is only recently that the examination body raised the amount to N18,000 due to prevailing inflation in the country.

The Head, Nigeria National Office, WAEC, Mr Patrick Areghan, while visiting its marking centre recently, said there had been a marginal increase of WAEC fees because of the country’s spiralling inflation. 

 “There has to be that marginal increase to enable us to do better services. The examiners are now happy as we are able to increase their marking fees through this marginal increase. The money actually went for the payments of examiners to enable us to satisfy them so that they can do the job better,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, Daily Trust has gathered that secondary schools charge between N40,000 to N100,000 to register a single candidate for WAEC while others charge the same amount or above for both WAEC and NECO.

A parent, Maryam Julius, said she paid N40,000 in a public school to register her daughter for WAEC.

She said: “It took me a lot before I could raise that amount because this is aside from the school fee and other levies. In fact, I was among the last parents to pay because I remember I was told that I would pay an additional fee for late registration.”

A candidate who gave his name as Emmanuel said he paid N100,000 to register for WAEC in a private school.

“My parents insisted I write my exam in a private school because they felt I would do better there and the school insisted on that and this is aside from the school fees.”

For Kenneth Azuh, he paid N240,000 for his two kids in a private school in Gwarimpa, Abuja, to register them for both the examination and JAMB.

“I was very disturbed when I read in the newspaper recently that WAEC registration has just been increased from N13,950 to N18,000. I understood that the actual amount has been low and affordable, which means schools are ripping off us,” he said.

Kenneth blames the authorities for not doing their job properly, saying, “if we are a country that is serious, they should have been able to put measures in place to ensure that schools charge uniform amounts. Even if they had to add administrative charges, it should not be more than N10,000.”

A source close to the WAEC who does not want her name mentioned, said as far back as 2019, a parent complained that the school his children attended in Lagos charged N200,000 to register them for only WAEC.

She said in 2021, a relation of hers wanted to register in a school and she was told that they had closed registration and that she had to pay N40,000 as a late entry fee aside from N100,000 for registration.

“That was happening when WAEC was yet to commence registration. We were still preparing yet some schools had finished registration and were collecting late entry fees,” she said.

“They are ripping parents off and by so doing, many students could not register because of the hiked fee yet the Ministry of Education is not doing anything about it,” she lamented.

Reacting, the chairman of a private School in Abuja, Yussuff Oriyomi, said they charge N70,000 for both WAEC and NECO and that they have no plan to increase it even with the slight increment from WAEC.

He said the N70,000 was for the examinations and associated administrative expenses and that they were actually subsidizing as other schools charged N100, 000 and above.

“For the supervisors, we send school buses to go and pick them up and to return them. Sometimes we will have to book a Bolt cab to pick them up if the school bus is not available. And there are instances where we didn’t go to pick them up, they come late and the students become apprehensive. When they come, we have to give them food as well,” he said.

He said those are some of the extra costs, adding that “the whole process of going to the WAEC office to regularize your registration, uploading the passport photos of students and a whole lot of back and forth that are involved, is part of the administrative expenses.” 

“We charge N70,000, some charge N100,000 but it’s for both exams. So if NECO is N18,000, WAEC is N18,000 is that not N36,000 already; and you are paying N70,000? The balance is N34,000 and it’s from that we do data uploads, and buy internet. Almost every year they keep changing the software that we use, and we buy the software,” he said.

 Oriyomi said the WAEC office is in Gwagwalada and sometimes the exam officer has to go to the office up to 10 times before they finish the registration, adding that their processes were very slow. “Sometimes I’m scared that we may even be spending more than the money we collected from them.”

Reacting, the HNO of WAEC, Areghan said the council only charges N18, 000 for its examinations, whether public or private school.

“We have no hand in extra charges. Nothing more than N18,000 comes to WAEC.

We do not know anything about their providing logistics to supervisors. We pay supervisors for doing the job.”

“Their attempt to justify their illegal charges is laughable. Registration is online. Once you collect your registration materials, you can do your registration anywhere. I do not understand what they mean by “going to WAEC to register is time-consuming,” he added.

He noted that it is the duty of the various Ministries of Education to check the excesses of schools in this regard and that parents should complain to their states’ Ministries of Education since schools are under them and not under WAEC.

When contacted, the Director of Press and Public Relations at the Federal Ministry of Education, Bem Ben Goong, said students who are in school registering for WAEC pay exactly what WAEC is charging, possibly with a small administrative fee attached to it, which is understandable.

He however refuted claims that private schools are charging higher amounts even for their own students.

He said, “No, that’s not true. If you have evidence, of anyone that has paid that amount, give it to me; we’re not ghosts. Give us verifiable evidence and we will confront that school.

Daily Trust

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