How schools exploit parents, WASSCE candidates

Many parents and candidates for the 2015 School Certificate examinations are paying exorbitant fees. There are indications that the May/June edition of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the forthcoming June/July Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) have become a goldmine to principals and school owners in various states. They are using both examinations to make huge cash.

Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the principals and school proprietors cashed in on the school exams to milk candidates and their parents by charging fees far above what is stipulated by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO). And while this development was taking place, officials of various states Ministries of Education pretended it was not happening.

Daily Sun gathered that schools across the country were charging various fees based on the status of the students. For instance, external students were made to pay more than the regular students and even compelled to buy school uniforms, pay development levies and administrative charges.

Our correspondent learnt that the practice was taking place with the full knowledge of some state governments’ ministries of education officials who turned a blind eye to the illegality even when parents and concerned stakeholders had drawn their attention to it.

The role of WAEC and NECO officials in the exercise is unclear to ascertain, but the exam bodies are being blamed for refusing to act when they discovered that the bulk of the candidates writing the school exams were external candidates, a development which both bodies forbid.

Our investigation further revealed that before the external candidates were registered, they were given a long list of items they were expected to pay for. Thereafter, they are expected to sit for the exams in the schools’ uniform to create the impression that they are all regular candidates.

According to WAEC Nigeria’s Head of National Office (HNO), Mr. Charles Eguridu, the council charges N11, 500 for the school exam whereas a senior official of NECO said the body charges N11, 350 for the same examination.

But a two-month investigation by our correspondent revealed that some principals and proprietors of various schools saw the WAEC and NECO exams as opportunities to make quick cash by charging excess exam fees, thereby forcing both the regular and external candidates to pay through the nose.

The illegal fees, it was further learnt, vary from state to state. In Lagos, for instance, candidates who registered as external candidates paid as much as N70,000 while regular students paid between N25,000 and N40,000, depending on whether they were arst or science students.

Some schools in Ikotun, a suburb of Lagos, compelled their final year students to pay N77,000, inclusive of N41,500 school fees. The rest N35,500, they said was WAEC fee. In some schools in Oshodi, external candidates paid N52, 000 just as regular students in Surulere paid N30, 000. Candidates for the same examination at Abaranje, also in Lagos, paid N27, 000 whereas external candidates at Ipaja were compelled to pay N35, 000, aside sundry charges.

In Ogun State, private schools took advantage of numerous external candidates seeking to re-sit their WASSCE and collected from their candidates’ fees far above what both WAEC and NECO stipulate. In Abeokuta, Sagamu and Ifo, the candidates paid between N32, 000 and N40, 000 while…

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