Following a viral video which emerged from Sapele Town in Delta State depicting the challenge of Fee payment in Primary schools and subsequently a deep decay of education infrastructure, the State Government has approached the Press to clarify issues raised by the video and others.
In his capacity as the Commissioner for Education in the State, Mr Chiedu Ebie on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 in Asaba, told the general public during a Press Conference that the content of the viral video should not be an object of political debate in rating the huge efforts deployed by the State Government in enhancing the standard of education since its inception in 2015.
Flanked by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Patrick Ukah and a retinue of top officials in the Ministry of Basic Education, Mr Ebie while responding to the viral video of little Miss Success Adegor of Okotie-Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele, seized the opportunity to reel out the achievements of the Governor Okowa led administration in enhancing the quality of education in the State.
On the dilapidated infrastructure, Ebie frowned at the image sold by the media to the public, stating that, Okotie-Eboh Primary School is in two locations of which contract for the renovation for one of the Schools has been awarded since on the 29th of November 2018, awaiting commencement of work.
However, on the aspect of the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC which stipulates free education for all basic education across states in the country, the Commissioner admitted that Public Schools do collect levies termed “Permissible” which is thought to have fanned the embers of the viral video of Miss Success who lamented the actions of her school authority to send her home due to her inability to secure the payment of the said levies.
Admitting the payment of certain fees in the state public schools, he disclosed that the fees at the Okotie-Eboh Primary School 1 contained levies which were off book and unauthorized by the Education Ministry which led to the immediate suspension of the school head, Mrs Veronica Igbigwe.
“At the commencement of every school session, a circular is sent to Primary and Secondary Schools bearing the levies to be paid. We cannot charge school fees because of the UBEC act”, Ebie explained. Adding that, “Delta State Government does not provide Textbooks, Notebooks and School Uniforms”, which he pointed as the primary responsibilities of Parents.
The commissioner disclosed that the only fees authorized for public Primary Schools in Delta State are, School Badge at N50 for a period of 3 years, Report Card for N200 for 6 years, N100 per term for consumables and N750 for sports wear per session.
On other consumables allegedly being collected by public schools, Ebie noted that he met the practice when he assumed office. “I met with the School Heads and we approved certain levies for these items. I don’t see any thing wrong with that because the amount is minimal”.
He informed that erring teachers and school heads who engaged in unauthorized levy collections have been sanctioned over time by the State Government. “We have arrested Six Head Teachers and demoted a good number of teachers”.
Chiedu Ebie further explained that in order to checkmate the prevalence of illegal fees in public schools, the State Government ensures that subventions get to schools regularly. “For the Secondary Schools, the State Government provides them with subventions which varies according to the model of the school and for the Primary Schools, they get theirs from the UBEC funds to the Local Government Councils through the Local education Authority secretaries.”