The Adamawa State Government has restated its warning to school heads in the state to stop illegal levies in public schools.
Mrs Wilbina Jackson, State Commissioner of Education, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) on Wednesday in Yola.
She said that reports reaching the ministry were that some elements in government schools were collecting money from students without government consent.
“Let me make it clear again, Adamawa Government has since 2019 declared free education from primary up to secondary school levels in the state.
“Government has taken over payment of school fees including WAEC and NECO from the parents.
“The ministry also released a circular to all government schools that anybody found collecting money from students or parents without government notice would be dealt with accordingly,” Jackson said.
She appealed to the general public to report any person found involved in sabotaging government’s free education programme.
But some secondary school principals told NAN on condition of anonymity that certain circumstances compelled them to charge students certain levies.
“It is true government had declared free education in the state, however, most of the schools are not equipped with instructional materials including chalks.
“In fact, Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri is aware of the situation and he agreed for us and PTA to charge a token levy to enable us purchase instructional materials,” they further alleged.
NAN reports that the African Centre For Leadership Strategy And Development (CENTRE LSD) had urged the state government to investigate allegation of connivance by some principals and the Parent-Teachers Association to charge illegal levies in public schools.
Mr Lawal Amodu, Senior Programme Officer of the Centre, made this known at a media engagement on the project Community Led Collective Action For Girls ‘Education (C-CAGE) in Adamawa.
Amodu also said that unapproved payment of levies was sabotaging government’s efforts on free basic education for all.
He said that the development negated Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri administration’s policy on free basic education for all in the state.
“Among the major challenges identified relate to the burden of hidden charges levied on students in various schools in the focal communities by the principals in conjunction with the school PTA.
“These levies are not only problematic to some of the parents and guardians but also have the capacity to demotivate in-school students from continuing their education,” Amodu said.