The National Examinations Council (NECO), has vowed to sanction schools charging above the government-approved fee of N9,850 as registration fee for the 2020 Senior School Certificate Examination.
Dr Abubakar Gana, Acting Registrar, NECO, said this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services paid an oversight visit to the Council’s liaison office in Abuja.
The committee had earlier made the observation that some schools were charging between N19,000 and N20,000 as registration fee for the examination.
He said that the exam body had written to commissioners of education of the 36 states and the FCT, notifying them of the extortion going on in their schools against the directive of the Federal Government.
The NECO boss added that the exam body would continue to play an active role in ensuring that candidates were not defrauded while pursuing their education.
He said the council would engage members of the committee to monitor its examination and report any infraction to guide the council on appropriate actions to be taken.
“Not quite a month, we wrote to all the commissioners of education, highlighting that some schools, both public and private, are overcharging candidates.
“While the NECO fee itself is N9, 850, some are even charging N20, 000 in the name of administrative charges.
“Most of these schools are miracle centres, and what they do there is that they perpetrate malpractice.
“Candidates who are lazy and do not have confidence can go to the extent of paying N50, 000 to register so they can have their way.
“We are on it. You too have a very critical role to play.
“We will make sure that in all our activities, we would make you part of the monitoring team so you can see what is happening and at your own convenience, write a report to us,” he said.
Gana also appealed to the National Assembly for a review of NECO’s budget, lamenting that the exam body had not embarked on any capital project for the past three years.
He said apart from conducting examination, NECO was finding it difficult to execute any project due to low allocation to the agency.
He said in 2018, it was budgeted that the council would purchase 18 Hilux pickups, but only N7 million was released for that purpose; and which was not even sufficient to purchase one.
In his response, Prof Julius Ihovbere, Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, said the committee had a lot of confidence in NECO and those managing the agency.
Ihovbere said feedback from his constituency suggested that NECO was doing exceptionally well.
“We believe you are playing a very great role; the only way to better appreciate it is to imagine a Nigeria without NECO,” he said.
According to him, the limitations NECO faces is not from the inability of the council to deliver, but it is because of the challenges confronting the exam body.
He expressed confidence that both the Senate and the House of Representatives, would approve a review of NECO’s budget to enable it execute its mandate effectively.