By Uji Abdullahi Iliyasu
The attention of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has been drawn to multiple text message charges imposed on candidates during the 2018 registration of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) and Direct Entry (DE) by telecommunication companies enlisted to provide profile code creation services through sending and receiving of short messages.
According to a press release sent by the JAMB’s head of media, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, the board approves only N50.00 per SMS as charges for candidates for the use of the service and no more. Candidates who are made to repeat these SMS command several times either due to poor network or processing failure will receive rapid response(s) imposing additional costs on the candidates.
The board therefore, warned all the telecom service providers to stop the multiple charges and stick to the agreement reached with the board, advising candidates who are victims of these multiple charges to raise a complaint support ticket on support.jamb.gov.ng for redress and further action by the board.
“The board will insist on a refund by any telecom company that continues to charge these candidates twice. We are mindful of the nation’s network challenges, therefore do not expect the candidates to pay for the network providers’ infrastructural difficulties,” Dr Benjamin said.
In a related development, the board has faulted the claim of the Colleges of Education Academics Staff Union (COEASU) that it has placed universities over and above colleges of education in the choice of institution for candidates seeking admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
According to COEASU’s claim, the board placed more priority in terms of choice by making universities first choice and colleges of education third, which is responsible for making colleges of education less attractive and dumping grounds for students who resort to colleges of education after they might have been denied admission in universities and polytechnics even as the more brilliant candidates would have chosen universities first.
Dr Benjamin said such impression is far from the truth and misleading.
“The board wishes to correct this erroneous impression. Our advertisements typically, including this year, request candidates to make any institution as their first choice, colleges of education inclusive. Our caption has always been ‘order of choice of institutions.’ Every candidate is to note that the first choice can be a college of education, university or innovation enterprise institution…”
Dr Benjamin said this was made clear to COASU during their visit to the board with copies of JAMB’s adverts provided to them. It is therefore strange to the board for COASU to issue such a misleading communiqué.
“We have never placed any candidate(s) nor advised candidates on the choice of institution as it is the candidates’ volition to determine which institution to pick as their first choice and also which course to study. Candidates are at liberty to choose any institution they desire,” he reiterated.
The release stated that the 2018 application documents published in the national dailies were clear, self-explanatory and devoid of any priority or preference as alleged by COEASU.
According to the release, before now, JAMB had introduced numerous initiatives to encourage teacher enrolment particularly into the colleges, and that the flexibility in the cut-off marks this year was partly to encourage the enrolment of candidates into teacher training colleges, especially technical education, which is one of the major focuses of the Oloyede-led management.