By Kpebo Thomas
The Akwa Ibom State Government has vowed to sanction Principals bent on collecting illegal fees from students to frustrate her free and compulsory education policy in the State.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Education Monitoring, Mrs. Idongesit Etiebet disclosed this to newsmen shortly after monitoring the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations ( WASSCE) in public secondary schools in Ikot Ekpene and Obot Akara Local Government Areas to check their compliance with Covid-19 guidelines.
“Education in Akwa Ibom State is free and compulsory. There are reports of charges by some Principals and such charges are completely illegal. On Saturday, the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Enobong Mbobo, met with all Principals and intimated them that there are pockets of report on illegal charges. She advised Principals to cease charging students if they do, and also warned them that any further report will lead to sanction of the school’s Principal.”
“The Government of Governor Udom Emmanuel is not in support of it and sanctions will apply. As Monitors, we advise Principals to adhere strictly to the directive of the Government and the motherly plea of the Honourable Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Enobong Mbobo. As she told them on Saturday, some Principals will be sanctioned if such report gets to the government, as no Principal has the right to charge any fee from any student.” Etiebet explained.
She thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel for his conscious effort to ensure students write their WASSCE despite the Covid-19 pandemic. She listed provision of face masks, infrared thermometers, hand-washing kits, sanitizers, among others, as measures of the state Government to curb the spread of covid-19 in schools.
Etiebiet noted that she would rate Governor Emmanuel high on his effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the State as schools are still taking additional deliveries of materials from the State Government.
The Governor’s aide noted that WASSCE fees, mathematical sets and other examination materials provided to all SS3 students in the State are free courtesy of the Akwa Ibom state Government.
She commended the Governor for deploying all his Aides to monitor compliance with the Nigerian Center for Disease Control (NCDC) guidelines across schools in the State.
Also speaking, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Education Monitoring, Akparawa Udeme Udofia expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance with covid-19 guidelines in examination halls in the two Local Government Areas visited.
Udofia noted that WASSCE officials reported to schools and all schools visited today made adequate provision for students and the examination to be conducted properly according to the guidelines.
On her part, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Education Monitoring, Dr. Sarah Esitikot, said parents should ensure that their wards are well equipped with necessary examination materials.
“I know that WASSCE examination started today but some students would have missed writing their examination because they did not have basic things like pen with them. Parents should prepare their wards and check their examination materials before they leave to school”.
She advised Principals and teachers not to relent in enforcing covid-19 guidelines in the school premises and to improve where necessary.