Falling behind on exam fees is a fear that many students in Nigeria face, and for a large percentage of students in transition classes particularly in government-owned secondary schools, this is a scary reality they face and live through.
Many survive this scourge, undertake exams and proceed to attain self-reliance. For millions who cannot and do not overcome this limitation, an urgent response is more than needed.
Recently, a non-profit organisation headquartered in Abuja Nigeria, Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi), launched a novel intervention to address this concern by piloting the “Exam Fees Bursary Fund”, supporting 50 students of Government Secondary School, Apo, Abuja with financial support to register for their UTME examination.
Speaking at the occasion to mark the first phase of the disbursement of this Bursary Fund to 100 students of Government Secondary School, Apo, Abuja, The ‘AREAi Exam Fees Bursary Fund’ as described by Prince Gideon Olanrewaju was envisioned to ensure that students from low-income families in underserved communities can access funds.
This will enable them to pay for transition exams like West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE), National Examination Council (NECO) and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and swiftly move from educational level to another without financial constraints.
Whilst acknowledging the kind gesture of the organization, the Principal, Government Secondary School, Apo, Abuja lauded the initiative as a welcomed development.
“This will serve as an encouragement to other students in junior classes to never relent on their academic excellence”, he said.
He further noted that while the bursary is innovative and commendable, much assistance is still needed to achieve the goals of enabling students transition easily to tertiary institutions without financial constraints.
In line with the overall goal of universal access to education, financial aids such as the AREAi Exam Fees Bursary Fund offer an alternative stream into education transition within limited resource and constricted budgetary environments, and represent an opportunity for those that may otherwise be financially excluded from pursuing their education aspirations.
Another major highlight of the event were “Career Sessions” for students in arts, science and commercial classes geared towards giving them points of reference as they register for these transition exams and forge ahead in respective chosen endeavors.
These sessions were conducted by the Director of Operations, AREAi, Ms. Motunrayo Fatoke; Monitoring Evaluation Accountability and Learning Officer, AREAi, Ms. Abiodun Omotosho and the Chief Executive Director, AREAi, Prince Gideon Olanrewaju.