GOVERNOR Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has disclosed that his administration is still owing both the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) and the National Examinations Council (NECO) the sum of N500 million, being examinations fees for the 2015/2016 final year students in the state’s public secondary schools.
As a result, he said his administration might have to review its earlier policy on the payment of final year Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination fees for final year students in the state’s public secondary schools owing to their poor performances in recent times.
The governor made the statements during an unscheduled inspection tour of ongoing renovation works at the Hon. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi Science Secondary School, Kutigi, in Lavun Local Government of the state.
Governor Bello stated that the total commitment of his administration towards the payment for final year public examinations conducted by both WAEC and NECO in the state’s public secondary schools in the last academic session was N800 million.
He said the state government has so far paid about N300 million to both WAEC and NECO out of the total sum, and had held meetings with the two public examination bodies with a view to rescheduling the remaining outstanding debt of N500 million so that the affected students could access their results.
“The government needs to review the policy because as it stands now, majority of the students are not coming out with good results at the end of their final year examinations,” he said.
Instead of continuing to pay such huge sums of money, he said the money could be channeled towards renovation of schools, provision of learning materials and laboratory equipment, building of world standard classrooms, as well as making the teachers’ quarters habitable.
“We must review the policy, because at the moment, we are still owing WAEC and NECO almost N500 million for paying for students that cannot have up to five credits in their final year exams.
“Basically we are throwing away money; we should rather stop the payment of the final year examinations fees and invest the money in schools facilities, so that with time, we will get a return on our investments in the education sector in terms of improved students’ performance academically and conducive teaching environment for their teachers,” he said.
Tribune Education learnt that the Science Secondary School in Kutigi is among the six schools picked by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led administration in the state to be turned to a Model School.
Two other secondary schools were also taken each from the three senatorial districts of the state.