The House of Representatives on Thursday called for the abolishment of the practice of payment of acceptance fees in tertiary institutions in the country.
The lawmakers urged the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission (NUC) to, without delay, abolish acceptance fees payment in all tertiary institutions.
According to the federal lawmakers, the act has affected the level of enrolment of qualified students in the universities and other institutions.
The Reps members arrived at this resolution when they considered and adopted a motion entitled “Call for the abolishment of acceptance fees into tertiary institutions in Nigeria”, which was moved by Hon. Chinedu Emeka Martins at the plenary.
While leading debate on the matter, Martins said a recent data from the NUC showed that out of a population of over 180 million, only about two million are enrolled in the universities nationwide, representing one per cent of the population.
He said this clearly indicated that the proportion of the population attending tertiary institutions was low when compared to other advanced countries.
He went further to note that additional data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) showed that between 2010 and 2015, of the 10 million applicants that sought admissions into tertiary institutions, only 26 per cent gained admissions, indicating that about 75 per cent of the applicants failed to gain admissions every year, and also reinforcing the fact that access to tertiary education is low in Nigeria.
He then decried the practice where many federally operated tertiary institutions charged as much as N30,000 per student, while some states and private institutions also charged significantly more as acceptance fees.
Mentioning some tertiary institutions he said, “University of Ibadan (UI) charged N35,000; University of Lagos (UNILAG) N20,000; Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) N30,000; Imo State University (lMSU) charged N70,000 just as Lagos State University (LASU) mandated students to pay N20,000 as acceptance fees. He said that the requirement for payment of non-refundable acceptance fees as a condition precedent for admissions were one of the factors contributing to poor access to tertiary education.”
Speaking further he said, “Applicants are expected to pay the acceptance fees within a short deadline despite having gone through the tortuous process of paying and sitting for the Senior School Certificate Examinations (SSCE), the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) and making the cut off mark; and if they are unable to meet the deadline, the applicants are surcharged for late payment with the risk of losing the offer of admissions.
“If the exploitative admission practices of tertiary institutions in the country are left unchecked, the aspirations of indigent Nigerians to study in Universities will continue to be cut short because of their inability to pay acceptance fees”.
Many of his colleagues who contributed to the debate also condemned the practice and called on the Federal government to stop it.
While adopting the motion, the House mandated its Committee on Tertiary Education and Services to investigate the admission policies and practices of tertiary institutions in the country as they relate to the charge of acceptance fees.
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