The management of Baptist Girls Academy, through the school’s Principal, Mrs Eniola Okudegbe, on Saturday, Clears the air over the amount being charged for JAMB registration, stating that, the additional N3,300 added to the N4,700 official charges is ‘administration fee’ which according to her, was agreed upon by the parents and the school.
The reaction came days after a video went viral online where JAMB Registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede interrogated some students of the Baptist Girls Academy at one of the designated registration centers in Lagos State about the actual fee being charged by the school.
In the viral video, one of the students in her response to Prof Oloyede’s question claimed that the school collected N8,000 from each student but one of the teachers who accompanied the students to the centre, Mr Oloyede Kayode countered the student, saying the school only charged N4,700.
Mrs Okudegbe while speaking with newsmen during a press conference held at the Directorate of Baptist Mission Schools, Bodija, said the school collected the statutory N4,700 fixed by JAMB, adding that the additional charges levied by the school was meant for the convenience of the students and parents in preparation for the exam.
According to her, the school authority consulted parents about the administration charges of N3,300 charges, saying “the parents are aware and they consented to what we are asking their children to pay. We have over 99 students who are currently preparing for the exam but about 40 of them have registered with the school and none of them is forced to pay the money.
Speaking about how the school arrived at N8,000, Mrs Okudegbe disclosed that N3,500 of the fee was meant for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) exam while N500 would be used to purchase the novel recommended by JAMB, adding that the CBT centre where the students would sit for the exam will charge N700.
“The additional N3,300 is for logistics under which we have coaching of students on the CBT and the other N1,300 if for refreshment and transportation. As a responsible school, we cannot cheat any parents; we want to take the burden off the parents. We placed our students on computer and we installed computer based test that they use to practice constantly so that they can achieve the success we required of them.”
Also speaking, Director of Baptist Mission schools of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, who led other management staff of the school to the venue, Dr Tile Olalere said the video clip gave Prof Oloyede a lot of space to ask our students and teacher questions but there was no time given for Baptist Girls Academy to respond to the allegations because the teacher was not authorised to speak.
According to him, the teacher who was interrogated by the JAMB Registrar at the centre in the video was not authorized to speak on behalf of the school but he was right to have said that students were asked to pay N4,700 as against N8,000 fee quoted by one of the students who spoke with Professor Oloyede.
Reacting to Baptist Girls Academy’s claim, the Registrar in a statement forwarded to Tribune Online on Saturday said he was on a scheduled inspection of the ongoing UTME registration exercise in the South-West to assess the performance of the exercise across the geo-political zones.
The statement added that on getting to Lagos, the Registrar held a press conference after which he proceeded to JKK computer-based test centre, one of the approved registration centres.
The Registrar, in his response, explained that the issue of mismatched data occurred as a result of group registration by the authorities of some elite schools who collect huge sums of money from parents in the name of helping them to facilitate their wards’ registration.
He stated that the board was against this practice as its examination is not a group-based exercise like that of WAEC or NECO, adding that candidates are expected to register individually.
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 who, he said, 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. He asked them how much they had paid for the UTME registration and the name of their school.
The students replied that they were from Baptist Girls Academy and that they had paid N8000 to their school for the 2021 UTME registration. He subsequently requested to meet their teacher who was not there at that moment. The Registrar continued with the interview and the students again drew his attention to the arrival of their teacher who maintained that the school had only collected the approved fee of N4700.
However, another student who was present there contradicted him and maintained that he and his colleagues had paid N8000 and not N4700 as claimed by the teacher. The Registrar then asked if any student had paid higher and another one who also claimed to come from Baptist Girls Academy and said she also paid N8000 and not N4700. The Registrar then asked the teacher to reconcile what he had asserted with what the students are disclosing.
The Registrar, however, knowing that there are administrative channels of addressing such abnormalities called on the most senior journalist at the interview session not to publish the encounter as it should be considered an off-record incident and was given that assurance by all the reporters through their senior colleague. However, to the Registrar’s surprise, the promise was not kept as the report had subsequently found its way to the public domain.”