The Delta State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, has condemned in strong terms, the claim by a group of private school owners in the state via online publications, that the state government considered a waiver of the payment of the annual licence renewal fee payable by private schools as part of efforts to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
The state Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Patrick Ukah, in a statement in Asaba today (17/02/2021), while reacting to the reports published online on February 11, decried the attitude of the group of private school owners for directing its members to reject any demand for evidence of such payment by Chief Inspectors of Education (CIEs) in view of the ongoing clearance for registration for the 2021 Cognitive/Placement Examination and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) .
He disclosed that before the publication by the group, the ministry had, during a stakeholders’ meeting with their leadership, informed them that the ministry would channel their request to the government for possible consideration since it was purely a state revenue matter which did not fall within the purview of the ministry.
Mr. Ukah also informed them that the time for registration for Cognitive/Placement examination had been extended to February 22 while the ongoing BECE registration would continue till the end of March 2021 and wondered why the concern about payment of licence renewal fee was resurfacing when the issue had been effectively addressed.
The Basic and Secondary Education Commissioner, who advised the private school owners to adhere to payment instructions to enable them accredit their candidates for the examinations, maintained that the publication by such private school bodies negated not only established principles of fairness and discipline but implied outright confrontation to constituted authority.
Mr. Ukah said that private schools were registered and approved by the ministry in line with established guidelines including the payments for licencing, renewal and revalidation, just as he called on private school owners in the state to disregard the purported directives and planned protest against the state government issued by the organisation warning that such excesses would not be condoned by the state government.
He further stated that CIEs had been directed by the ministry to apply the rules on payment of the renewal fees in the screening and clearance of schools for the ongoing registration for examinations without fail.