From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
Aggrieved Parents, under the aegis of Kogi Concerned Parents ( KCP) in the Management of Basic and Senior Secondary Schools in the state, has cried out to the government to intervene in the prohibitive fees charged by some schools in the state for the ongoing registration of Basic Education Certificate Examination ( BECE)
The spokesperson of the aggrieved parents Comrade Idajili Ocholi who in a chat with Our Correspondent in Lokoja, urged the ministry to step up its monitoring mechanism to stop the unscrupulous school owners who charged as high as N7,500, N10,000 and N15,000 as fees for the ongoing registration of BECE examination.
Ocholi who described the fees as unacceptable, noted that the state government may not have beamed its searchlight on the activities of the ‘Shylock School’ owners who have been ripping off the parents, stressing that, if not checked, they could derail the educational advancement of many students.
He lamented that it is only in Kogi state that private schools were allowed to charge fees according to their whims and caprices without the government rising to the occasion to protect the interest of the people.
” When you take a cursory look at the ways private Schools 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 might 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 by the Schools, we were surprised that the ministry charged only N2, 500 for the BECE , unfortunately, many private schools have turned the examination to a money making enterprise as some of them charge as high as N7, 500, N10,000 and more.
” 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 until government step in to rescue us from the hands of our shylock, greedy and money making so called private Schools” They vowed.
Meanwhile, Our Correspondent’s investigation at the Ministry of Education in Lokoja, revealed that the total registration fees approved by the ministry for the BECE stands at three thousand, three hundred naira only ( N3,300.00) including the margin of benefits for the schools.
According to the information, the floating of 2020 Basic Education Certificate Examination(BECE) which was addressed to the Executive Chairman TSC, Executive Director STEB, ; Executive Chairman of SUBEB and Chairperson NAPPS had directed each approved school to Charge BECE fees of N2,500 for the registration, N300.00 for the Printing of BECE result and N300,00,’ for the cost of online registration while N200.00 for administrative expenses totalling N3,300 per student sitting for BECE in the state.
Meanwhile, the ministry has warned School owners and proprietors to desist from charging any amount outside the stipulated fees vowed to impose appropriate sanctions on the erring Schools.
In his reaction , the State Chairman of Parents Teachers Association, ( PTA), Comrade Paul Jibrin , stated that the ministry of Education always meet all the stakeholders on issue of policy before taken final decisions.
He lamented at the attitude of some school owners who have penchant for defrauding parents who are already weighed down by heavy burden of economic exigencies.