Oyo State has revealed details of how much it would be charging entrants into state-owned schools.
This is despite the open declaration of free education by the Seyi Makinde administration when it assumed office in May.
In the months after, the government had stopped the charging of N3000 levies hitherto collected from parents and had also conducted entrance examinations into its public schools at no cost to candidates.
But in a statement made available to EduCeleb.com on Monday, it rolled out the fees payable for public school transfers.
The fees range from between N7500 and N20, 000 depending on how far the enrolled was previously schooling within or outside the state.
Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Taiwo Adisa connected the supposedly increasing number of public primary and secondary school enrolment in the state to the free education declared by the government.
He said measures taken thus far in the implementation of the free education policy have started yielding fruits.
“We are particularly pleased that a number of parents have been besieging the Oyo State Ministry of Education in the past few weeks to make inquiries on steps to be taken to transfer their wards from private schools to public schools.
“The huge turnout of parents and guardians seeking transfer for their wards to our public schools in view of the free education policy of Governor Makinde’s administration, has, therefore, necessitated the introduction of some administrative measures which are meant to control admission and safeguard illegality in the admission process.”
The cost of Oyo public school enrolment
The introduction of the sums of money were to “offset administration procedures as approved by the administration.”
The cost of obtaining forms for transfer of pupils/students to Oyo State public schools varies.
For candidates transferring from a different state, it is N15,000 ( Fifteen thousand Naira). This applies to those from major cities across the country including Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt.
Whereas, those from other states of the federation would be charged N10,000 (Ten Thousand Naira).
For those seeking transfer from within Oyo State, it is N7,500 (Seven Thousand, Five Hundred Naira.
Those being transferred from outside Nigeria would have to pay N20,000 (Twenty thousand Naira).
Violation of free education laws
The charging of these fees contravene the section 18(3)(a) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 2 (1) of the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act of 2004 which make basic education entirely free of any sort of charges.
Section 1 of the Act states that “The services provided in public primary and junior secondary schools shall be free of charge.”
Back in March 2017, the Federal High Court in Abuja had ruled that failure of government to provide free education was a breach of the Constitution.
In a suit filed by the Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP) against the Federal Ministry of Education and the Attorney General of the Federation, Justice John Tsoho ruled that the right to free education in section 18(3) (a) of the Constitution was could be made enforceable or justiciable by legislation.
Government says education is still free
The Oyo government continues to claim that education remained free despite the listed fees.
“As we have started before now, the policy of the state government is to promote free education in line with its desire to uplift the standards and enhance excellence in educational pursuits.
“In line with the current administration’s four-point service agenda, Education, Health, Security and Economic expansion via agriculture value chain have been so designated as the major pillars.
“The administration hereby assures the people of its commitment to implement the agenda for the good of all in Oyo State.
“Let us also place on record that the decision to implement the charges listed above is not aimed at constraining the people, but to ensure standardisation in the process of transferring pupils and students from private to public schools.”