School Principals in Ondo State and the parents of pupils in public schools might be at loggerheads over the government directives on the refund of the money paid by parents whose children are to write the 2021 West Africa Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in the state.
The state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu had last month announced the payment of the examination fee for all the final year students in all public secondary schools in the state and ordered the refund of the students’ WAEC fee to their parent.
But parents of the students have written several petitions to the Ministry of Education, to complain and draw the attention of the authorities to the refusal of school principals to comply with the directives on the refund.
According to findings by our correspondent, it was discovered that the process of refunding has not begun and this has generated controversies between school principals and parents.
The bone of contention between the parents and the head school teachers was the refusal of the school principal to refund the exact N16, 750 paid by the students.
The schools are bent on deducting a sum of N2,800 as the administrative charge on each student while the parents are not ready to collect the N13,950 balance as a refund.
The schools’ heads analysed the administrative charge to include N1,000 for Science practical, N1,000 for administration and N800 for online registration.
It was gathered from some teachers of the schools that some Principals resolved to use the opportunity of WAEC fee refund to generate revenue for their schools by deducting from the money to clear the outstanding debts by some students but said there must be a mutual agreement between the parents and the school authorities.
She said, “ There is also a suggestion by some Principals that parents might be advised that instead of collecting the WAEC money, they could leave if for the payment of the forthcoming NECO exams and if there is any balance, they will be refunded or balance up if the fee is higher.”
It was, however, gathered that the recommendations were turned down by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Lola Amuda, who insisted that the fee must be refunded as directed by the governor.
Speaking on the development, the President of All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS ) in Ondo State, Mr Johnbull Mebawondu, urged school principals to comply with the government directive.
Mebawondu said “All principals must refund the money collected from the students in respect of the WAEC registration. There is a template given to us by the Ministry of Education on the fee to collect from the students before the announcement by the government.
“What the government instructed us now was that the N13,950 for the WAEC registration per candidate and should be refunded to them without any condition.
“The only condition we had was that the money should not be refunded to the candidates themselves directly but instead we should invite the parents and give them the money back because if we give the money to the candidates, they might not hand it over to their parents, they will just squander the money along the line.
“We have resolved that the principals should not also give the money to the parents anyhow. Principals are to summon the meeting of parents of the affected students and ensure that parents put down their signatures before they collect the money as evidence of refund.
“It must be transparent and that will make the parents appreciate the good work that the governor is doing and at the same time save principals from accusations of complicity.
“Again, it was resolved that there is no provision for payment by substitution for NECO exams. Principals have to refund the money, even when such a candidate is owing to schools, they should not use the money to pay for the collectables unless the parents willingly want to use the money to offload the debts of their children. But they must first sign for the refund”
He said further “as of today, we don’t know how much the NECO will cost, so it will be very wrong for any principal to say he is using the money to pay for NECO.
“But if you refund the money with signatures and the parent decides to retain the money for anything, so be it. But parents should not be forced to use the money for any other purpose.”
Source : Tribune Online