Oyo state chapter of the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), has decried the recent declaration by the state governor, Seyi Makinde that the payment of the registration fees for students who are to write the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), was not part of the regime of free education policy.
Makinde, through his Commissioner for Education, Daud Shangodoyin, had recently declared that payment of WAEC fees was not part of his free education policy.
Makinde insisted that payment of the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) fees is the sole responsibility of parents in the state. He posited that it was the responsibility of the parents to pay the WAEC fees for their children.
But, SPN while reacting frowned at what it described as false impression, pretence and misrepresentation.
The party in a statement signed by its Secretary Ayodeji Adigun, said it believed that the cost of registration for any examination whether internal or external, is an integral, crucial and inseparable part of any meaningful free education policy.
“Free education policy without payment of WAEC fees is incomplete and deceitful. SPN Oyo state chapter decries the recent declaration credited to Engineer Seyi Makinde-led government in the state that the payment of the registration fee of students in public secondary school in the state who are due for an enrollment for this year’s edition of the West African Examinations Council, (WAEC) examination is not part of the regime’s free education policy.
“SPN frown at this kind of false impression and misrepresentation. It is our belief in SPN that the cost of registration for any examination whether internal or external is an integral, crucial and inseparable part of any meaningful free education policy. No formal education is complete without an examination. This implies, that any education policy that fails to incorporate this as its integral part is not encompassing, hence fake and deceitful.
“The impression that it is the sole responsibility of the parents to pay the examination fee of their children is not true. Examination fee is an integral part of the cost of education and it is the social responsibility of the government and not of the parents.
“SPN therefore, holds that there is no basis for the Seyi Makinde-led government not to be able to fulfill this obligation, especially with the much vaunted 22.37 per cent of the estimated budget of N208bn for 2020 the regime claimed to have allocated to education.
“It is in the light of this we call on the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government to rescind the decision and the plan to abdicate its reasonability of paying the examination fee of students in public secondary schools across the state that will be due to enroll for WAEC examination this year.
“To us in SPN, this declaration has further reinforced our earlier suspicion over whether or not the motive behind the so-called free education policy of the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government is to promote academic excellence of students across the state or just being used as a mere instrument of propaganda.
“If truly the so-called free education policy is to promote academic excellence, there shouldn’t have been any plan to abdicate the responsibility of paying the WAEC examination fee,” Adigun said.
He said having that kind of declaration at a period when the administration claimed it had allocated 22.37 per cent of the estimated budget of N208bn to education has further showed that beyond the problem of poor and inadequate funding bedeviling the education sector is also a greater problem of mismanagement.
“It is our believe in SPN that except the resources at the disposal of the state is often subjected to the democratic control and management of the working people themselves, those resources no matter how huge will always be looted by members of the ruling elites.
“In other words, huge allocation without democratic management and control will not translate into any meaningful improvement in the life of the working people.
“It is in the light of this we call on Engr Seyi Makinde to ensure the amount of fund equivalent to the 22.37 per cent claimed to have been allocated to the education sector be subjected to the democratic control and management of committee of elected representative of students, parents and workers in the education sector…
“We therefore call on workers, youth and the poor masses in the state to join and support the SPN and help build it as a strong party that is capable of defeating all anti-poor political parties including the APC and PDP in the state and form a pro-working people government that will be run on the basis of a socialist programme.”