Despite the financial difficulties faced by parents and guardians to meet the education needs of their wards, the National Examinations Council (NECO) has over the weekend expressed plans to increase its examination registration fees.
The planned increase of payable fees is coming against the backdrop of last year’s visit by the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, as part of its oversight function to NECO headquarters in Minna, Niger State and warning against an increase in the payable fees above the government-approved N9, 850 for registration.
But the Registrar/Chief Execute of NECO, Professor Dantani Wushishi, responding to questions during the release of the 2020/2021 Senior Secondary School (SSCE) internal said there is the possibility of increasing payable fees to meet global economic realities.
Professor Wushishi said the increase in all payable fees has become inevitable to meet with global financial realities, adding that the increase is in line with foreign exchange rates and related tendencies not peculiar to NECO alone.
Dantani Wushishi lamented what he described as, ‘internal and external challenges NECO is grappling since he assumed duty as Registrar/Chief Executive of the examination body which according to him is compounded by the debt burden mostly by some northern states.
Many of the states have refused to pay up, he said, adding that it is unfortunate that the affected states, mostly northern states reneged on the gentleman agreement reached to allow their students sit for the examinations after which the monies would be paid.
The Registrar who however did not mention the states and exact amount involved before the next registration however said, “With the way things are now in the country and the current exchange rates, we are going to increase registration fee for all our examinations”.
According to him, many states owe not less than N2.8 billion; and out of these states, six of them, including; Zamfara, Adamawa, Kano, Gombe, Borno and Niger states owe NECO not less than N1.8 billion debts for the students they registered in 2019.
“These state governments will offer to pay examination fees for candidates from their states but when it comes to the actual payment, they don’t do it, and that has strapped NECO. Most of these states owing are yet to remit, even as we decided not to withhold their results in the spirit of mutual respect, togetherness and understanding”.
He said, “If we do not increase payable fees we cannot to conduct examinations. It is with this money that NECO pays members of staff to carry out the examination duties, in addition to buying stationeries and other materials needed for the smooth conduct of the SSCE”.
It should be noted that NECO demanded registration fee for the 2021 Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE), between N11, 350 and N13, 350, against financial difficulties being expressed by parents.