Acceptance Fee: a Metaphor for Exploitation in Nigeria Tertiary Institutions

If accelerating economic development is our goal, if social and cultural development is our dream; if promoting peace, support industries and improved energy sector form our objectives, and if we must escape building a country that future historian will not characterize as a geographical entity reputed for loss of jobs or described as a state where citizens daily slide into poverty and unexpected illness grow overwhelmingly, then, we must be ready to join the global education advancement train.

Education is globally recognized as the bedrock of development. With sound educational institutions, a country in absolute terms is as good as made – as the institutions will turn out all rounded manpower to continue with the development of the society driven by well thought out ideas, policies, programmes, and projects. Well impacted education shapes the society and encourages the masses to look beyond the acquisition of certificates in the university and focus on how to create jobs instead of depending on the government for employment that may never come.

The arbitrary high acceptance fees being charged by tertiary institutions on new students across the country may have become a matter of great concern to many families but it should also be seen by the relevant authorities as a consequence of unaddressed challenges of funding of higher education.

You will agree with me that the number of students granted admissions per year is low compared to the number of students who apply.

According to a report published by AllAfrica, no fewer than one million students seeking admission through the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) every year, have failed to get slots in a tertiary institution in Nigeria, as the system cannot admit more than 600,000 in any given year.

Based on investigations, we have 153 universities and over 3000 Polytechnics, Colleges of education and Monotechnics and their capacity is still barely above 600,000.

Meanwhile, an average of 1.6 million UTME candidates registers for entrance examination yearly.

After going through the pain of waking up late at night to read, paying much to get tutored, you’re being admitted and later asked to pay in order to accept the admission given to you.

It could be recalled that in a unanimous adoption of a motion moved by Hon, Chinedu Emeka Martins titled; “Call for Abolishment of Acceptance fee into Tertiary institution in Nigeria” during the plenary presided over by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, the house described acceptance fee as exploitation and called on Federal Government, to immediately abolish the payment of such fees in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

But today, despite such effort by the house, the practice remains unabated in virtually all the public higher institution of learning in the country.

The exploitative institution didn’t stop with acceptance fees; they also have a long list of sundry charges ranging from registration fee, departmental fee, faculty fee, result verification fee, examination fees, information technology fee and endowment fee, among many others ranging from N90,000 to N100,000 in the western parts of Nigeria.

By getting preoccupied with revenue generation without consideration to the student comfort or well being, the tertiary institution defines learning too narrowly in a manner devoid of process and outcome fairness, forgetting that if learning must persist, stakeholders must look inward, reflect critically on their own behaviour, and identify the ways they often advertently or inadvertently contribute to the institution’s problems and then change how they act.

While we wait for the Federal Government to choose the path we should follow as a nation, one thing stands out: continuing with the present class of education will never engineer national progress but can only set the stage for development collision.

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