Controversies trail refund of WAEC Fee as Ondo govt gives more strict conditions
Recent directive by the Ondo state government that WAEC fee of 2021 WASSCE be returned to affected students has continued to generate reactions among major stakeholders in the education sector.
It was gathered that though process of refunding has not begun, issues such as the amount to be refunded to eligible candidates as well as payment of outstanding debts by some students have generated controversies among school principals.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state had last month announced that the state government would pay the WAEC fee of students sitting for the examination.
Subsequently, the government directed that parents of benefiting students that had earlier paid the fee be refunded the money as soon as possible.
It was however gathered that WAEC students will not be refunded the exact amount they paid for the exam.
Investigation by ROVING REPORTERS revealed that Registration fee paid by WAEC students was #16,750 but an administrative charge of # 2,800 will be deducted from each student, as they will end up collecting a sum of #13,950 when it is time to get refund.
The #2,800 administrative charge being collected by all schools is broken down into three; #1,000 for Science practical, #1,000 for administration and #800 for online registration.
Sources in secondary schools in Ondo state told our correspondent that some Principals had resolved to use the opportunity of WAEC fee refund to generate revenue for their schools by deducting from the money to clear the outstanding debts by some students.
A school staff who spoke under the condition on anonymity said the deduction from WAEC fee to pay the outstanding debts by many students will however be done in agreement with the parents.
She said “ There is also a suggestion by some Principals that parents might be advised that instead of collecting the WAEC money, they could leave if for the payment of the forthcoming NECO exams and if there is balance that remains , they will be refunded or if higher than the money paid, they will balance up. ”
It was however gathered that those recommendations were turned down by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Lola Amuda in respect of refunding benefiting students.
It was gathered that Amuda directed that on no condition should the parents be denied WAEC fee refund as directed by governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
Speaking with ROVING REPORTERS, President of All Nigeria conference of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS ) in Ondo State, Mr Johnbull Mebawondu said School Principals must ensure strict compliance with government directive.
Mebawondu said “ All Principals that are collecting money from the students before will have to refund the WAEC registration fee. There is a template given to us by the ministry of education on how much we should collect from the students before the announcement by the government.
What the government instructed us now was that the #13,950 for the WAEC registration per candidate should be refunded to them without any condition.
The only condition we had was that the money should not be refunded to the candidates themselves directly but instead we should invite the parents and give them the money back because if we give the money to the candidates themselves, they might not hand it over to their parents , they will just squander the money along the line.
We have resolved that the principals should not also give the money to the parents anyhow. Principals are to summon the meeting of parents of the affected students and ensure that parents put down their signatures before they collect the money as evidence of refund. It must be transparent and that will make the parents appreciate the good work that the governor is doing and at the same time save principals from accusations of complicity.
Again , it was resolved that there is no provision for payment by substitution for NECO exams. Principals have to refund the money, even when such a candidate is owing schools the collectables , they should not use the money to pay for the collectables unless the parents willingly want to use the money to offload the debts of their children. But they must first sign for the refund.
As at today ,we don’t know how much the NECO will cost ,so it will be very wrong for any principal to say he is using the money to pay for NECO.
But if you refund the money with signatures and the parent decides to retain the money for anything, so be it. But parents should not be forced to use the money for any other purpose. ”