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FCT outlaws fees in primary schools, warns teachers against extortion

Posted by By FRANCIS AWOWOLE-BROWNE, Abuja on 2007/10/01 | Views: 578 |

FCT outlaws fees in primary schools, warns teachers against extortion


Inundated with reports of extortion in the name of school fees in its primary schools, the Federal Capital Territory Administration weekend outlawed all fees, charges and levies in the primary schools within the territory.

Inundated with reports of extortion in the name of school fees in its primary schools, the Federal Capital Territory Administration weekend outlawed all fees, charges and levies in the primary schools within the territory.

The Administration warned that henceforth no school head should ask for any money for any purpose from the pupils, noting that heads of primary schools reported to be asking for or caught collecting illegal fees and charges from pupils will face the full wrath of the law.

FCT Minister of State, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, who made the position of the Administration known after a working visit to the six area councils, said the directive was in line with the Federal Government’s Universal Basic Education (UBE) policy which provides for free and compulsory education for every Nigerian child at the primary school level.

Akpanudoedehe visited several schools and interacted freely with pupils during the two-week working tour. At the end of the tour, the Minister identified over-crowded classrooms, high illegal fines and charges, as well as absence of basic infrastructure as the bane of primary education in the Territory.

Announcing the ban on charges and fines in all public primary schools in the FTC, after a meeting with the chairmen of the six area councils, Senator Akpanudoedehe said the ban would encourage parents and guardians to send children and wards of school age to nearby schools in accordance with the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which aims to drastically reduce illiteracy in the world by 2015.

The Minister equally warned Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) not to impose compulsory fines or charges on pupils or their parents as this would negate the Federal Governments’ UBE programme.
His words: “We cannot declare free and compulsory UBE for the first nine years of our children on the one hand and turn round to circumvent that policy by charging exorbitant fines and charges.
The government of. President, Umar Yar’Adua, is the one that wants all children of school age to be in school because education is the pillar of government’s Seven-Point Agenda.”

We cannot therefore allow heads of primary schools or Parent-Teacher Association to thwart Mr. President’s agenda with inexplicable fines and charges.
The FCT Administration will take it as a great offence if head-teachers in the Territory insist on forcing these fines on pupils and appropriate sanctions would be brought to violators of the ban”.
The Minister, however, stated that fines duly agreed by PTAs should not be made compulsory neither should it serve as the basis for pupils remaining in schools. According to him, “Such fines, duly accepted by PTAs, should be voluntary and not form the basis for which a child is allowed to remain in school or write examinations.”

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