Primary, Secondary education remains free in Kwara, says Perm Sec


By Adebayo Olodan

The Kwara State Government has once again reiterated that education is free in the state.

Speaking on a programme tagged; ‘Oro Ilu’ on Sobi FM, Ilorin, last week, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Maryam Ayodeji Garuba said it is misleading for anyone to claim that public primary and secondary schools pay tuition fees in Kwara State.

“Let me reiterate that education is free in Kwara under the present administration. The amount being charged by various schools is not school fees but Parents Teachers Association (PTA) levy which is pegged at N1,350 and N1,500 for Junior and Secondary School learners in that order.

“This agreement was reached between the teachers and parents who believed there is the need for them to contribute to the education of their children. Aside the PTA levy, parents are expected to buy learning materials such as text books and note books for their wards but unfortunately, we are in a society where some parents are not even ready to buy biro, pencil or even eraser for their kids. They expect government to buy all those items including school uniform for their children,” Garuba lamented.

Speaking further, the Permanent Secretary urged parents to always monitor the education of their wards adding that such task should not be confined to government and teachers alone.

She said the state government has zero tolerance for examination malpractices, adding that supervisors, head teachers and anyone who encouraged learners to cheat during exams will be dealt with appropriately.

Hajia Garuba also blamed some parents and guardians for aiding their wards to partake in examination malpractice while also warning school principals and head teachers to always communicate the ministry and seek due approval before taking any decision binding on the learners.

“Of late, we heard report of a principal who asked learners to bring blocks to school. As soon as the report got to us, we dispatched our officials to investigate the claim and we also summoned the principal in charge.

“The principal later told us that the agreement for the learners to bring blocks to school was reached during a PTA meeting following complaint that the school fence was being pulled down by some unidentified students. Unfortunately, the principal went ahead to take a decision without communicating or seeking approval from the ministry.

“We have since written a memo on the action of the principal to the Teaching Service Commission that is saddled with the task of meting out punishment to erring teachers in the state,” Garuba said, adding that the state government will not tolerate any act of subordination from teachers and principals.

The Permanent Secretary however promised that her Ministry will ensure proper monitoring and supervision of the forthcoming Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) scheduled to take place across Junior Secondary Schools between May 30 and June 18, 2018.

On the proposed renovation of schools across the state, she said, “We have secured the approval of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed on that and what we are waiting for is the cash backing to commence the extensive renovation of our schools.”

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