v  Threatens SSCE, JSCE students over illegal PTA, other levies

In the last edition of Nigeria Watchdog Newspaper of Tuesday October 27, 2020, we reproduced a letter addressed to Education stakeholders in the state,including principals of Secondary Schools and Head Teachers of Primary Schools, whereby the Imo State Commissioner for Education, Prof. BTO Ikegwuoha denied directing, approving or authorizing the imposition and forceful collection of any school fees or sundry levies by any school head.

Ikegwuoha was particularly irked by the action of the principal of Orji Comprehensive Secondary School, who had in collaboration with the NECO examination supervisors, imposed the sum of N3,500 on each candidate sitting for the 2020 NECO examinations in her school.

According to a parent who doesn’t want his name in print,the principal whose name was also withheld, had claimed that the N3,500 NECO levy per candidate was duly, authorized by the state Commissioner for Education Prof. BTO Ikegwuoha.Reacting to the reports as aired on Oziza FM Radio Station Owerri, Prof. BTO Ikegwuoha denied authorizing any such levies and explained that his body language or leadership have never contended with the reintroduction of school fees or imposition of levies on such school since there is a subsisting free Basic Education and free meal Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the present APC led federal government, for all public schools, all over the country. He urged all parents and pupils whose children and wards respectively were affected, to disregard such claims, that he authorizied payment of school fees and levies.

As if the Commissioners statement had fallen on deaf ears, the principals of World Bank Housing Estate New Owerri located Urban Secondary School,both the junior and senior levels(s) went ahead to threaten NECO and Junior WAEC candidates with expulsion should any of them refuse to pay a new PTA fee of N500 each and supervisory or administrative fee of N300 or a total of #800 per candidate. She would have made good her threat to prevent the candidates from sitting for the examinations but for the postponement as a result of the violence and looting of public property occasioned by the EndSARS protests nationwide.

These candidates had while registering for the exit examinations long before the declaration of lockdown as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, paid all fees (including PTA and administrative) in advance of the three terms. A parent who confronted the principals during the period, recalled challenging the imposition of PTA levies and testimonial fees since adding those will bring the cost of registration to an outrageous and unaffordable amount. 

As gathered, the deviant junior secondary school principal who he met in offices since that of the Senior Secondary School was attending the burial of a certain teacher, (a death that has come to be regarded as a spell or curse on the school teachers  at Urban Secondary School World Bank Estate Owerri following their highhandedness) insisted the fees must be paid once before any student is registered for the exit examinations. 

It will be recalled that with the SSCE commencing two months ago, returning students of Government Secondary School Owerri, those of Urban Secondary School and Boys Model Secondary School both at World Bank were forced to pay various sums of fees and levies long after their registration was completed.