Background to the Computer Based Testing Centre Story that DadaMac Changemaker from September 2015. Information obtained in real-time during weekly UK-Nigeria Meeting. The photo shows the CBT centre being built.

“Last week was another incredible week at Fantsuam, with its highs and lows. We were able to purchase and install 198 Thin Client computers in our brand new Computer Based Testing Centre. The CBT regulator came and was clearly impressed.

The success of the CBT has emboldened us to take Dadamac’s suggestion of contacting the Nigerian Government for assistance as they did with our Community Communication Centre when they offered a five year free internet licence. So we have written a letter to our State Governor, El Rufai, inviting him to visit us to see for himself our proof of concept, and to partner with us to expand the CBT to serve 700 students at a time.

There are over 40,000 students who will be applying to sit the university qualifying exams from Kafanchan area only. Fantsuam and the only other CBT at moment, do not have the capacity to host such numbers of students. But if the Kaduna State Government will agree to partner with Fantsuam, they can begin to address this deficit.”

 These were the words from John Dada of Fantsuam Foundation during our recent UK-Nigeria online meeting.

In a previous blog we heard from John that, in order to sit the university qualifying exams, impoverished students in rural Nigeria, not only need to find the fee for the exam but also the costs of travelling many miles to the nearest urban CBT centre, necessitating an overnight stay - costs which they can ill afford. The average age of the students is 19 years old.The students are from within 50 MILES around Kafanchan.

As each student pays a fee to the regulator and the regulator pays the CBT centre for use of the facilities, it is therefore actually a viable social business.

John and his team have overcome many challenges to be a rural CBT .

  • First they had to have the vision.

  • Then they faced the daunting task of sourcing the 150 units/computers in order to meet the regulators minimum requirement (they have actually exceeded this).

  • Then they needed to extend the building to accommodate the computers and build new desks for a minimum of 150 students.(Actually now catering  for 220 students)

  • They then had to lay the correct cabling and ensure sufficient power source

  • They had to strengthened the window grills, reinforced the gate into the Fantsuam Foundation compound, and may need two guards on night shift instead of one

Fantsuam Foundation is determined to meet the needs of these rural students who currently have to travel to urban centres to sit for university qualifying examinations due to absence of nearby CBT centres. John Dada and his team are an example to other rural organisations that with vision and determination it can be done. However the skills and resources needed to achieve this need to be made more readily available. As John told us during our weekly UK-Nigeria online meeting:

“The ease of setting up CBT enters in urban centres even makes it a viable business opportunity for urban entrepreneurs.

Although the regulator recognises the need for more rural CBTs, it has to use same yardstick to ensure standard are met. The criteria for setting up CBT are the same for rural or urban centres, but access to resources for such establishments is not same for both locations. In many ways, the rural needs outstrips that in urban areas”

John informed us that “It is FF dream to extend its new CBT so that we can accommodate 500 students at one-go”

One of the knock-on effects of the new CBT centre is local people now believe FF to have more funds than it does and John reports that the the number of individual requests for support has increased in recent weeks.

Ironically this is the reverse. Due to all the expense required to set up a CBT centre, Fantsuam Foundation are in debts to friends and families to the tune of  N4 Million, about £16,000.

Not only are there the building, cabling and labour costs but each Thin Client costs N15,000, about £50.00. The special server needed for 250 systems cost 350,000 about £1,170 and the cost of providing a reliable internet connection is also a concern for Fantsuam.

The Government is not helping with any costs as yet but hopefully, as with the CCC, we hope this will change.

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Changemaker: John Dada   Information Agent:  Nikki Fishman