The Ondo State Government says it will no longer pay school fees of secondary school pupils in the state, saying that parents should henceforth take up the responsibilities of the schoolchildren.
It, however, said it would keep funding pupils in primary schools, adding that tertiary institutions in the state would have their tuition reviewed.
This was contained in a communique issued on Sunday at the end of the 2017 Ondo State Education Summit in Akure, the state capital.
The communique was signed by the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Education, Mr. Steve Awosika.
At the summit, it was agreed that education funding was too important to be left in the hands of government alone, with participants saying it must be the business of all the stakeholders.
The communique partly read, “The government should fund education at the primary school level, while parents should be responsible for the education of their children at the secondary and tertiary levels.
“There should be a review of chargeable fees in the state’s tertiary institutions, in line with the needs of each school and the current economic realities.
“The issue of returning schools to their original owners requires further engagement among stakeholders in order to arrive at an amicable and workable solution.”
The summit also resolved that government and other stakeholders should embark on aggressive renovation and reconstruction of dilapidated school structures in the state to make such schools learner-friendly.
According to the summit, the Examination Ethics and Disciplinary Committee should be strengthened in the ministry of education and in schools to checkmate examination malpractice.
It added that a measurable parameter should be designed for the promotion of teachers, while a Teachers Biometric Attendance device should be designed to monitor class attendance and enhance productivity.
The communiqué added, “The state government should recruit teachers to fill all relevant vacancies in public primary and secondary schools.
“The ministry should enforce the cancellation of automatic promotion of students in schools, while the conduct of the joint SS2 promotion examination should be sustained to present qualified candidates for the school certificate examination.”
Meanwhile, some parents in state have kicked against the development, saying the government should not introduce tuition fees in its secondary schools.
A parent, who identified herself as Mrs. Adeyemi, said it would be a bad policy, considering the current economic situation of the state.
She said, “The government should not ask parents to pay school fees for their children. For now, the state government is owing us about five months’ salary and if it stops paying tuition, it would compound our problems. Mr. Akeredolu should help us in this regard.”
In his reaction, the Ondo State Chairman and National Vice-President of the Parents Teachers Association, Alhaji Abimbola Omoloja, said the association would need to get the communique of the summit before it could react to the new development.
Omoloja, however, noted that the association would not support the idea of parents paying the tuition for their children.
He said, “We have submitted our position paper to the summit, but we are not aware that parents should be responsible for the payment of their children’s tuition in public secondary schools. If such provision is there, we won’t accept it. We shall get the communique and see what we will do about it.”