The agrrieved Parents, under the aegis of Kogi Concerned Parents ( KCP) in the Management of Basic and Senior Secondary Schools in Kogi state has cried out to the State Government to intervene in the draconian and inhibitive fees charged by some Schools in the state for the registration of Basic Education Certificate Examination ( BECE) which is outside the reach of many parents capable of truncating the educational progression of their children.
The Spokesperson of the aggrieved parents Comrade Idajili Ocholi who in a chat with Daily Independent in Lokoja Thursday lambasted the ministry of education whose inappropriate monitoring has given impetus to some unscrupulous school owners to charge as high as #7,500, #10,000 and #15,000 fees for BECE .
Ocholi who was in tears while speaking to our correspondent noted that the state government has for many years abandoned the hapless parents in the hands of the Shylock School owners to merchandise the parents stressing that they were prepared to fight the fraud in the system to a logical conclusion.
He lamented that it is only in Kogi state that Schools were allowed to charge fees according to their whims and caprices without the government being the advocate to protect the interest of the people.
” When you take a cursory look at the way private Schools Managers charged their fees in the state without recourse to the prevailing economic trend calls for concern. We are pained that the government that would have stood in the defense of the masses have tacitly given them the nod to charge whatever they want.
” We have surveyed the entire north central states and compared what they charge for their coordinate Schools Kogi has been adjudged to be against the educational development of the children.
” We have asked the Ministry of Education through our Parents Teachers Association( PTA) to ensure benchmark for the determination of fees charged in Schools, but we were surprised that our probe reveals that the ministry charged only #2, 500 for the BECE , unfortunately, many private schools have develop the effrontery to charge as high as #7500, #10,000 and #15,000 .
” We are ready to stop our children from writing the BECE if the fees are not reversed. The BECE is meant to transit a student from JSS3 to SS1 and we are saying that unless the government prevail on the Schools to revert to the approved fees we are ready to continue with the protest the government rescue us from the hands of our shylock, greedy and money making educational support, called private Schools” They vowed.
Meanwhile, AgubaSun investigation at the Ministry of Education in Lokoja, revealed that the total registration fees approved by the ministry for the BECE stand at Three thousand three hundred naira only ( #3300.oo) including the margin of benefits for the schools.
According to the information on the Ministry’s website, the floating of 2020 Basic Education Certificate Examination(BECE) which wasbadressed to the Executive Chairman TSC, Executive Director STEB, ; Executive Chairman of SUBEB and Chairperson NAPPS directed each approved school to Charge BECE fee of #2,500, Printing of BECE result #300,00,’ online registration #200,00.’and administrative charges for online registration of #300,00 totalling to #3,300 for student sitting for BECE in the state.
Meanwhile, the ministry warned School owners and proprietors to desist from charging any amount outside the stipulated fees which he disclosed amounted to fraud and crime against the state .
In his reaction to the imbroglio, the State Chairman of Parents Teachers Association, ( PTA) Comrade Paul Jibrin , stated that the ministry do often have meeting with his Association on issue of policy before taken final decision.
He lamented at the attitude of some school owners who have penchant for defrauding parent who are already weighed down by heavy burden of economic exigencies.
He warned school proprietors to consider the economic situations of Parents in fixing their fees and not to shortchanged parents by charging exorbitant fees for public examinations outside the state approval.
He warned the erring proprietors to revert to the ministry approved #3,300, for BECE or be ready for their schools to be blacklisted..