Kunle Adelabu & Mariam Akinloye
– Say many students will be denied
-Call on Govt, National, State Reps to intervene
Unless there is a positive turn of events, students in private schools within Ikorodu WAEC Zonal Office and Lagos State at large may not write this year’s West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE), being organized by the West African Examinations Council due to what many parents called arbitrary increment in the exam’s fees.
According to many of the parents and private schools’ proprietors, the decision of the examination body to increase the WAEC fees was not communicated to schools.
To add salt to their injuries, WAEC has announced closure of the registration for this year’s examination and imposed N5, 000 fine as penalty for late registration.
In addition to that, THE IMPACT also gathered that WAEC, after announcing the closure of registration, went ahead to reopen Continuous Assessment Scores Registration (CASS), this, school proprietors said, was to encourage more students to register and at same time, imposed another fine.
School Proprietors claimed that they received information from WAEC that the registration has been extended to March 28, but in a letter signed by Dr Adunola Osoba, the Deputy Registrar/Zonal Coordinator, WAEC, dated March 23, school proprietors were told that the registration, which closed midnight March 20, would be reopened on March 21 and closed April 3, with N5000 as penalty for late registration for each candidate.
“However, late registration with a penalty of five thousand naira (N5000) only per candidate commenced on Monday, 21st March, 2022, and will run till midnight of Sunday, 3rd April, 2022″, the letter read.
“Those who have purchased pins but failed to upload will also be required to pay the penalty fee”, the letter added.
Many of the parents that complained that they were not informed about the increment, also said that their children and wards may end up not writing the examinations this year because they found it difficult raising the examination fees and the N5,000 penalty slammed on each student whose school has formally paid his registration fee and obtained his pin from WAEC as well but his name not yet uploaded.
Unfortunately for the poor parents, they also feared that they will be the ones to bear the fines imposed on the schools by WAEC.
THE IMPACT also gathered that the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Lagos State Chapter had formally appeal to WAEC to drop the penalty charges, stating that most parents are not prepared for the increment coupled due to the harsh economic situation.
Mrs Bello Temitope, who resides in Epe and whose daughter is attending a popular private school in the same town, complained bitterly about the development and called on the government to intervene so that her child and others can write the examinations and not miss out.
“It has been a hard pill to swallow for many of us. We were not prepared for the increment and all of a sudden, we were told that WAEC has increased the examination fees”, she said.
“This really affected many of us. We struggle to pay their school fees, likewise for other children for some of us that have two, three or more children in schools.
“While we are still searching for the money to pay, the school was already telling us that WAEC has imposed a fine of N5000 on each student for late registration. How do we get that when we are still looking for where to get the actual fee?”, she asked rhetorically.
“I want government to intervene in this matter on behalf of us that are helpless but desired good education for our children.
“Mr Governor, Sanwo – Olu, our Senator, Senator Abiru, Hon. Babajimi Benson and our honourables at the Assembly should please come to our aid. These people cannot be extorting us as they like. We are also citizens of this country”, she appealed.
Another parent, Mrs Kafayat Oluwatoyin, simply appealed to the examination body to have a change of mind on the matter and also called on the government to intervene in the matter.
A proprietor of a popular school in Ikorodu with over 150 students, alleged that WAEC is extorting private schools, and added that the government is not showing concern about their situation despite contributing to the educational development and economy of the state and country at large.
“In fact, what they are doing is extorting the schools”, he alleged.
“This is not the way that they close registration (for SSCE) in the past. They usually call for stakeholders’ meeting where we all deliberate and see to how all interest can be taken care of.
He said that many schools have paid for the WAEC Pin but were unable to register their students on the deadline day which was suddenly announced by WAEC and yet, still asked them to pay fine.
“It is unheard of because many of these schools that are complaining are experiencing same thing with us. We had paid for the WAEC pin but unable to register our students because the deadline was suddenly announced and there was also network problem. We all know how our internet in this country is”, he said.
“Where do they want me to raise almost a million naira to pay as fine? There are other schools with 200 and more candidates.
“In fact, I don’t know the reason for the hastiness because, the WAEC/SSCE examinations is coming up after JAMB examinations which is holding between May 9 and 16.
“We learnt that WAEC had extended the registration to March 28 but suddenly, we received notification that the deadline was March 20th which was on Sunday”, he added.
Another school owner who also spoke with our reporter and pleaded that his name should not be mentioned, called on WAEC to review its penalty as it affected schools that have paid for pins before the deadline.
“The West African Examinations Council slammed a penalty of N5,000 .000 on a candidate for late registration/ uploading of pins for its May/ June examinations . This is understandable. But extending this penalty to other schools that have paid and obtained the payment pins to that effect but are yet to upload their candidates information is a peculiar matter that should be objectively addressed by WAEC”, he said.
“Asking this category of candidates to pay a penalty like those who have not been captured at all appears extorting and burdensome to both the parents and the schools concerned.
“It is pertinent to let WAEC know that our parents are stakeholders like others in the business of school administration; and as such, their interest has to be jealously guarded. Most parents did not, in any way, plan for the sudden increase in this year’s WAEC registration fee ; and this really caused the snail pace the registration of this year experienced”, he added.
“As well, WAEC, as one of the stakeholders, should appreciate the fact that the children involved in this logjam are private schools students who are not benefitting from the largesse the public school students enjoy from government.
“Should they still suffer for their parents’ resolve not to leave the business of educating Nigerian children in the hands of government alone? If they are denied today, what type of citizens do you want them to become afterwards? Please, WAEC, have a rethink for the sake of our future leaders”, he pleaded.
He appealed to the members of the public and government to intervene in the matter so that many Nigerian students would not be denied their right to education.
“As schools, it is our desire to have all our candidates presented for the examination and not a fractional part of them. We call on the well – meaning Nigerians to please help us mount pressures on WAEC to relax this hard posture so that our growing ones ( children) would not be thrown out of schools”, he appealed.
“We call on the Federal Minister of Education, state commissioners of Education, both state and national assembly members and other spirited individuals to please come to our aid and prevail on WAEC to reconsider its stance on this late submission of pins and candidates’ registration so that the affected children won’t be thrown into the world of hopelessness”.
“Are state governments that are paying WAEC fees for students in their respective states paying late registration fees? No, they don’t, and they usually pay after the examinations, why are they trying to force us private school owners out of business then with this measure?, he asked rhetorically.
He also appealed for reconsideration of the situation.
Attempts to reach the President,, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Lagos State chapter, Alhaji Amusa proved abortive.
Our reporter called him severally and sent him messages which he has not responded to as at the time of going to the press.
Meanwhile, when our reporter visited the WAEC office in Ikorodu on Friday (today), to get the examination body’s side of the issue, the officer that attended to him said that he was not in position to speak with a journalist or any member of the public on the issues presented to him.
He directed our reporter to the Public Affairs unit of the examination body in Ikeja.
But another official who spoke with THE IMPACT on phone said that there is no way WAEC could have increased the examination fee without the approval of the government and meeting with the stakeholders.
He also said that deadline for the registration which was originally last December but that it was extended several times and added that the body is justified to imposed the penalty.
He also alleged that school owners are the ones to blame if parents are not aware of the increment because they are always carried along in all matters concerning education, even when discussing with government.
He too directed our reporter to the Zonal office of the examination body for more information.