Controversy has trailed a purported plan by the Ogun State government to introduce some fees for students in public secondary schools.
The fees tagged “donations” sum up to amounts varying between N2000 and N3700 depending on whether the student was a new or old.
EduCeleb.com obtained a copy of a circular indicating the government sanctioned such payments effective from mid-September when schools would be open for the 2019/2020 academic session.
It emanated from the Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and was addressed to all principals of secondary schools and technical colleges through the zonal education officers in the state.
“I have the directive of the Ministry to inform you that His Excellency Prince Dapo Abiodun MFR, Executive Government of the State has graciously approved the following donations based on the request of the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) for the year,” the letter signed by Martins Akinsolu, a senior official in the ministry read in part.
A breakdown of the fees include; N500 for computer, N600 for PTA levy and N300 for co-curricular activities. These would be paid in each term.
There is also “insurance”, which would cost parents N500 every academic session.
Also, new students were to pay N1500 for “School materials”, which include caps, badge and beret. N300 would be charged for “file jacket” too for the new intakes.
Mr Akinsolu who is the Director, Secondary Education in the ministry ended the letter with a warning to the school heads against charging any other unapproved fees.
Violation of the law
The charging of fees at the basic education level is in defiance of the Nigerian laws.
Section 2(1) of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act of 2004, states that “every Government in Nigeria shall provide free, compulsory and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age.”
No plans to charge fees in schools
Although, insiders within the education ministry confirmed the authenticity of the letter, the Ogun State government has denied any plans of reneging on the free education programme.
It claimed that the said “donations” predated the Dapo Abiodun administration which came into power last May.
The government explained that the PTA “volunteered” in 2017 and approved the said “donation” of N2,700 per pupil and thereafter, in 2018, raised the amount by N1,000 and it became N3,700.”
Governor Abiodun, through his spokesperson, Mr Kunle Somorin noted that free education was an electoral promise his government was committed to.
The governor was quoted to have said “as a responsible government we would not eat our words by reneging on promises made to the people.”
“The state does not intend to impose any charges or school fees on pupils in Public Primary Schools and has not authorise any secondary or Technical school Principal to collect levies or charges from any student as being insinuated in some quarters.”
EduCeleb.com understands that primary and secondary schools in Ogun State are billed to resume next Monday, 16th September, 2019.
The governor has urged the people of the state to disregard insinuations that students would pay such fees.