IDE: Bills and motions addressing educational challenges in Nigeria

Sharon EboesomiJanuary 26, 202411 min

In this piece, OrderPaper highlights some bills and motions in the 10th House of Representatives that aim to address educational challenges facing the country.

International Day of Education: Bills and motions addressing educational challenges in Nigeria

Education in Nigeria is challenged by a wide range of issues including the high cost of education, inadequate funding, poor educational infrastructure, inadequate classrooms, classroom equipment (computers, projectors, laboratories, and libraries), lack of qualified teachers, and a poor or polluted learning environment, amongst others.

Seeking to address the challenges facing the educational system globally,  the  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has dedicated the International Day of Education (IDE) celebrated globally on 24 January annually. 

The International Day of Education (IDE) was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 to recognise the power of education in achieving one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and empowering individuals and communities.

In commemoration of the International Day of Education (IDE), OrderPaper in this piece, highlights some bills and motions in the 10th House of Representatives which aim to address educational challenges facing the country.

  • Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (Establishment) Bill, 2023 (HB. 145) (Hon. Tolulope Akande Sadipe) – First Reading.

Before presenting the bill, Rep. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe (APC, Oyo), during an online seminar held on Monday, 6th July 2023, disclosed that after laying the amendment to the bill on the floor of the House, and when passed for assent by the President, UTME will have a validity of 3 years.

She said she was passionate about the bill, adding that many were victims of the yearly JAMB test.

Akande-Sadipe argued that a student who has passed UTME should not sit for the examination repeatedly, rather, the result should be valid for about three years.

The bill, she explained, seeks to increase the validity of UTME results from one year to five years. However, it has been reduced to three years. Making a comparison with examinations across the globe, she noted that the tenures and validity of other internationally recognised examinations last up to two-five years. Akande-Sadipe referred participants to examinations of international standards such as GMAT, GRE, IELTS, TETOFL, SAT, MCAT, PTE, and USMLE.

She said, “I am not asking that the exam tenure be extended in cases where people fail. I am asking that it should be extended when people pass.” 

She queried, “In Nigeria, every year you take JAMB and you don’t get into University, you have to repeat JAMB. Why?” She said “168, 613 students scored 200 and above in the 2021 UTME; 236,936 scored 190 and above; 327, 624 scored 180, but less than 100 students got admitted into tertiary institutions. Of the 600 eligible applicants, only about 100 representing 16.67% of candidates got their admission uploaded on the Central Admission Processing System (CAPS).”

“I sponsored the bill, March 16, 2022, on the floor of the House of Representatives, but because of the magnitude of bills that go to the floor of the House, the bill has gotten to the committee level and we are almost there,” she added.

  • Another important education bill on the floor of the House is the “Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act (Amendment) Bill, 2023 (HB.02) sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Rep. Abbas Tajudeen (APC, Kaduna).

READ ALSO: Navigating Educational Challenges: A Call for Alternatives to Tuition Hikes

  • A motion by Rep. Awaji-Inombek Abiante (PDP, Rivers) on a “Call to investigate the Alleged Manipulation of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) by Miss Ejikeme Mmesoma.”

According to the motion sponsor on July 5, 2023, the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) banned Miss Ejikeme from taking its exams after being accused of manipulating her results. 

“Miss Ejikeme Mmesoma of Anglican Girls Secondary School, Nnewi, Anambra State sat for the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations and scored 362.

“On 2 July 2023, JAMB Head of Public Affairs and Protocol, Dr. Fabian Benjamin made a public pronouncement accusing Miss Ejikeme Mmesoma of manipulating her UTME results that she scored 249 instead of 362 as claimed. 

“Miss Ejikeme Mmesoma came out to defend herself, that she actually printed the result from the JAMB and had been a brilliant child all through her Nursery and Tertiary education, coming first in all the Examinations she has been taken before the UTME, hence she posited that she is not capable of manipulating her UTME result. 

The House thereafter resolved to set up an Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Rep. Sada Soli (APC, Katsina) to Investigate the alleged manipulation and falsification of UTME results by Miss Ejikeme Mmesoma,

The committee was also tasked with the responsibility of examining JAMB’s UTME and result issuance processes to identify potential loopholes or vulnerabilities that may have allowed for such incidents.

Also, the committee was asked to recommend appropriate actions to address identified shortcomings, enhance the security and credibility of the examination and result issuance process of JAMB, prevent similar occurrences in the future, and report within three (3) weeks.

The House equally resolved to urge the JAMB and its Management to desist from taking further steps on the matter pending the outcome of the investigation.

Consequently, the House urged JAMB to soften the 3 years ban imposed on Miss Ejikeme Mmesoma until the investigation is concluded.

It further mandated the Committee on Human Rights to investigate the matter by interfacing with the Federal Ministry of Education and the Nigeria Police to engage External Examiners to ascertain her true score. 

  • A motion by Rep. Osi Kama Nkemkanma (LP, Ebonyi) on the Need to Reverse the Recent Hike of School Fees in Unity Secondary Schools in Nigeria.”

Nkemkanma during plenary on Tuesday, July 11, 2023, raised a motion canvassing the need to suspend the implementation of an Increase in tuition fees by federal universities and the need to reverse the recent hike of school fees in Unity Secondary Schools in Nigeria.

The lawmaker expressed concern that the recently approved increase in school fees for students in Federal Government Colleges across the Country by the Federal Ministry of Education has caused anxiety among parents and students who are still grappling with the effects of the economic hardship caused by the recent subsidy removal.

He also expressed worry that the approved increase in school fees for students in the 104 Federal Colleges across the country was making many parents consider withdrawing their wards from schools as they are unable to meet the fees, hence the country may have to deal with the dire consequences of having an alarming number of out-of-school children.

Following debates on the motion, the House however resolved that the Federal Government take immediate steps to adequately fund the education sector by increasing budgetary provisions to ensure that Nigerian students have access to quality and affordable basic and senior secondary education.

It also resolved to investigate the fee hike by Federal Universities and Federal Government Colleges across the country. 

  • A motion by Rep. Aliyu Sani Madaki (NNPP-Kano) and 8 Others on a “Call to Suspend the Implementation of Increase in  Tuition Fees of Universities”

Similarly,  on the same day, Rep. Madaki raised a motion on the floor of the House citing concerns over Federal Universities across the country that increased their tuition fees from 100 percent to 200 percent.

He added that hostel fees were increased from 50 per cent to 100 per cent

He said Universities that hiked their fees include Bayero University, Kano (BUK), the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the University of Uyo, the University of Maiduguri, and Michael Okpara  University of Agriculture among others.

He expressed concern that the hike in fees by the universities was happening against the worsening poverty level in the country, inflation and high rate of unemployment, and the recent fuel price hike in the country.

He said the increase could cause disruptions for some students who could not afford the fees, adding that while many of them would be forced to defer their studies, others could drop out.

He further said that the hike could aggravate the already volatile situation in the country as students were already making threats which could lead to an uprising against the Federal Government.

This according to him could come with grievous consequences for the country.

Adopting the motion, the House therefore urged the National Universities Commission to immediately halt the implementation of the increase of fees by Federal Universities.

The House further mandated the Committee on Tertiary Education and Services when constituted to investigate the increase of fees by Federal Universities across the country to find lasting solutions to the challenges in the tertiary education sector.

  • Need to Re-Establish and Adequately Fund the Practical and Professional Teaching of Artisanship and Vocational Training in Federal Government Colleges Across the Country by Rep. Awalu Abdul Gwalabe (PDP, Bauchi).

The motion sponsor lamented the increase in social vices amongst unemployed youths and out-of-school children.

He further stated that in past years when trade subjects and artisanship were adequately funded and professionally taught in senior secondary schools, youths hardly indulged in these social vices because they were trained to be self-reliant and handy with trades and vocational studies.

Gwalebe submitted that the revival and adequate funding of trade and entrepreneurship subjects in senior secondary schools would reduce the menaces caused by incidences of out-of-school children.

The House, in passing this motion, urged the Federal Ministry of Education to revise and adequately fund the curriculum for the development and teaching of artisanship and vocational training in Senior Secondary Schools as well as other subjects.

The lawmakers also urged the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC), in conjunction with the Secondary Schools Education Board of the Federal Ministry of Education, to monitor the evaluation and implementation of the trade and entrepreneurship curriculum and also employ professionals in the various fields of trade and entrepreneurship in our secondary schools.

They further urged State Governments to adequately fund the proper teaching of trade and artisanship in their senior secondary schools.

Sharon Eboesomi

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