Delta state commissioner for basic and secondary education, Chiedu Ebie, has revealed that Delta state government pays N20,000 subvention monthly to each of the secondary schools in the state.
The commissioner said prior to the administration of Governor Okowa Ifeanyi in 2015, the state government was paying N7000 termly to the schools as subvention but with the coming of Governor Okowa, the administration released N150million from which each of the secondary schools receives N20,000 monthly as school’s running cost.
If the revelation is anything to go by and since a term has at least three months, it means each of the secondary schools collects N60,000 termly for the administration of the schools across the state. Hence, he said based on this, no secondary school in the state has right to collect illegal fees from students besides the approved collections by the ministry of education.
Emerging reports had earlier revealed that the schools are struggling to survive in terms of purchasing learning aids and general administration, hence the school’s management resort to collecting unapproved fees in different sums from students both for their private pockets and for running the schools.
Besides running the schools, there are reports that the money collected is shared into different hands including heads of personnel management of local government councils, chief inspectors of education and some unscrupulous staff of the ministry of education.
But with the revelation of the commissioner, if it is anything to go by, the principals do not have cause to resort to the extortion of students or inflation of prescribed fees by the ministry of education.
Ebie made the revelation when Delta state chairman of Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), Comrade Dr. Prince Kehinde Taiga, led members of the committee to the office of the commissioner to complain of how public school managements have resorted to extorting pupils and students in the state on Thursday April 18, 2019.
The visit followed the viral video of the seven-year-old Success Adegor of Okotie-Eboh primary school in Sapele who was sent home for non-payment of examination fees by her school headmistress. The visit was also necessitated by the independent investigation carried out by the CDHR where it discovered monumental extortion being perpetuated by the public school authorities in the state.
Prince Taiga had said that heavy extortion was going on in the schools as investigation the group carried out revealed that secondary school principals and primary school head teachers all over the state are neck deep in the extortion of children and their parents and inflating prescribed fees by the ministry of education.
Investigation carried out by the group indicted the commissioner when the principal of Erho secondary school in Abraka, Ethiope east, told the committee team pointedly that the collection the school was involved in was duly approved by the commissioner, Chiedu Ebie.
The group said the principal, with a bold face, told them to go anywhere insisting that the collection had the blessing of the commissioner, hence she has no cause for alarm.
The team revealed that a student of the school was sent home for non-payment of a sum of N5000 for unknown fees, adding that for the past five months, the student has remained at home for his parents’ inability to pay the N5000 to the principal.
The group said the government must wake up to the responsibility of combating the menace as it is crushing the system and destroying the image of the government of the state.
Prince Taiga said the complain of no money to completely fund the state education was a lame excuse as the money spent on government luxuries, funding aides and convoy, if converted to education, the challenges could be reduced.
The commissioner had said that the only approved collection by the education ministry are N250 for report card once in six years, except the child is transferred from one school to the other. A school badge of N50 which also runs for six years is also approved by the ministry.
The commissioner added that sports wears are also approved for the students to buy as it is compulsory for the schools to organize sporting competition once in a school year. He added that no collection is allowed for examination, no charges for desk and no charges for admission.
He said the biggest challenge in Nigeria is funding, noting that no government can provide 100 percent funding for education in the country. Following this understanding, he said the government gave permission for the collection of fees fee for the aforementioned materials.