The Imo State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard lkegwuoha has inaugurated two investigation panels: one to look into the Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) as pertaining to the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council NECO) and the other to look into the financial activities of the Examinations Development Center ( EDC) of the Ministry. This was according to a release signed by the PRO of the Ministry, Ofoleta App-Jonnie Marcellean Anayo.
Inaugurating the investigation panels in his office, Prof. Ikegwuoha stressed that lmo was a premier State as far as education was concerned and that education was the biggest industry of the State. He said this could be buttressed by the fact that the State had the highest number of Professors in the Country and registered the highest numbers of candidates in the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).
The Education Commissioner noted that Education being in the front burner of the State, we must take the business of Education seriously for the interest of our Children and posterity.
Prof. Ikegwuoha made it clear that any money collected for the State must be accounted for as the present new lmo government led by Senator Hope Uzodinma would not take it lightly with anyone who makes the already worse financial situation of the State more precarious.
He, therefore, charged the members of the Panels to be firm, thorough, deliberate, conscientious and diligent to unveil and uncover the magnitude of decay in the system. The Commissioner urged the Area Evaluators of Education (AEEs) to be honest in their submissions to the panel(s) and explained that the setting up of the panels was not meant to witch hunt anybody.
He enjoined the members of the Panels to let him know of any obstacle or challenge on their way in the course of their assignments for a prompt attention.
Responding on behalf of the other Chairman and the members of the two investigative panels, Dr. (Mrs) Pat Nlebedum who is the Chairman of the investigative Panel on SEMB promised that they would do what they were supposed to do without fear or favour.
The investigative panel on SEMB has five members with Dr. (Mrs.) Pat Nlebedum as the Chairman. The following terms of reference; to establish the number of Schools that registered for WAEC separately.
To ascertain the number of students that registered jointly for WAEC and NECO.
To ascertain the number of students that singularly registered for WAEC and NECO.
To establish that N4,400 was either jointly or singularly paid by each candidate.
To establish how much was realized and paid into SEMB Account for IGR, and the outstanding not yet collected.
To ascertain the number of principals that are yet to remit what monies they collected in full.
Review and ascertain if N4,400 was exorbitant and recommend appropriate fees to be paid.
Any other information apart from the above they think that can be relevant.
The investigative Panel on EDC also has five members with Mrs Stella Nwagwu as the Chairman. Its terms of reference include; to know why the Director of EDC did not reply the Hon Commissioner’s letters within 48 hours issued to her earlier than now.
To determine original receipts and packing schedules of the fees collected for 2019/2020 UBEGPT.
To determine the original receipts and packing schedules for fees collected for 2019/2020 BECE.
To know how many pupils /students /candidates registered for each of the exams.
To determine how much each of the Candidates paid for the exam?
To ascertain how much was paid into TSA and how much was outstanding?
To ascertain who and who have not paid the fees.
Any other information not mentioned above, but relevant in the course of the assignment.
Meanwhile, against the N4,400 recorded as registration fee by each of the WASC candidates, principals of schools especially in Owerri collected N3,500 per students which they claimed included lesson fees and identity cards. At the Junior Secondary certificate level, each of the candidates was forced to register for the Junior WASC at N10,000.
A report from a parent whose daughter was refused registration because she could only afford N8,000, was published in this Newspaper but nothing was done about it by the ministry
At the same time, candidate for First School Leaving Certificate were compelled to register for their examination with N5,000 each at World Bank Primary School Owerri. It is expected that the panel will unravel the truth about this outrageous and exorbitant school fees and levies.