The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai, said this yesterday (Saturday, 27th April) while addressing journalists at the Federal Government College, Suleja, Niger State, after monitoring the 2013 UTME examination. She blamed this on the low-carrying capacity of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
She said, “The major challenge is a country like Nigeria having 1.7 million sitting for examination. The space we have is 520,000 for federal, states, private universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
“What are we going to do with the large number of students out there? I feel the pain. Mr. President is very much concerned. If you have students that have passed examination and they cannot have access, you can imagine their thought in the long run.”
The Minister called on private firms and individuals to invest in tertiary education.
On the issue of high tuition fees by private universities, she agreed that private investors had the right to recoup their money, but added that government was considering legal options at its disposal to regulate tuition fees in the sector.
Scrapping of NECO and UTME?On the issue of scrapping of NECO and UTME, the minister denied any knowledge of such.
She said, “It has become a very controversial issue. I have made a statement before the National Assembly that the Federal Government has a white paper on this.
“I’m not aware that NECO and JAMB will be scrapped. If we are not aware, what are we going to make an analysis out of? Government has not taken decision on that.”
Tragedy on UTME exam dayMeanwhile, no fewer than nine candidates were feared dead, while six were injured in an auto crash on the Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway on Friday.
The victims were said to be on their way to their examinations centre.
Police Public Relations Officer, Abia State Command, Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna, confirmed the incident in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Aba.
He said seven persons including the driver died instantly, while two others died later in hospital.
Ogbonna said the candidates were traveling on a Hiace bus with number plate Rivers XY 249.
He explained that the driver, around 10.40am rammed into a truck with number plate Lagos XC 109 SLK, which was parked off the road at Obeaku-Ihie, Ugwunagbor Local Government Area of Abia State.