Education sector records 80 percent corruption in Oyo State ― Makinde
Oyo State governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, on Friday, bemoaned pervasive corruption in the education sector of the state, noting that 80 per cent of cases of corruption brought to his attention, since assumption of office, happened in the sector.
He noted that cases of corruption ranged from reports of some school administrators collecting money from their students for the conduct of mock examinations to some civil servants collecting money from teachers to have them promoted or posted to choice areas.
Furthermore, he pointed to instances of some local inspectors of education asking for gratification from principals before handing over the books purchased by the government for free distribution to students as well as incomplete information about how the N526 million first term grant was distributed.
Makinde who stated these when the leadership of the Oyo State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) paid him a courtesy visit at governor’s office, also decried that some school heads and teachers blackmailed parents into paying some sums of money for their children/wards.
Noting that his administration’s free education policy was being implemented to lessen the burden of parents, Makinde said dismissal and prosecution awaited anyone who sabotaged the government’s efforts through corrupt practices.
He particularly noted that he was personally monitoring the education sector to ensure that the government gets value for money it continues to invest in the sector.
Though he noted that he awaited complete reports about the distribution of grants to schools for the first term, Makinde said he will not hesitate to give grant to schools for the second term.
While assuring of commitment to the welfare of teachers and the entire workforce in the state, Makinde urged the NUT leadership to enlighten teachers on not engaging in sharp practices or acts that sabotage the government’s investment in the education sector.
“Out of maybe ten cases of corruption that has come to my attention, 80 percent actually came from the education sector. We have the SGBs and we asked that they should be signatories to the grants as well as the principals.
“Right now, I have had reports that in some schools, they are collecting money for mock exams. When they bring me a file asking for permission to spend money to print examination materials, I approve it.
“We want to lighten the burden on our parents and the majority of our people. In certain schools, they are being blackmailed into doing certain things. Enlighten your members that I will not back off.
“I have taken it upon myself to monitor the education sector because we have committed a lot of money into it and we want to get value for money. However, the feedback that I am getting has not been encouraging.
“I carried out a sting operation. First, I have had to let a woman go because she was collecting money from teachers to get promoted or to be posted to choice areas. Second, there is the case of four people collecting money at TESCOM and were caught. They are going to be dismissed and they will be prosecuted. It is a decision that is painful but we have to ensure that we get value for whatever we are committing.
“They brought the file to me asking to approve the grant for this term and I asked them to give me a breakdown of how the grant for the first term, over N500 million, was distributed. It’s about accountability.
“After about five weeks, they brought back incomplete information. However, I asked that we go ahead and give the second term grant while we are looking into the returns for the first term.
“There has to accountability and it cannot be business as usual. For the books that we distributed, I approved money for logistics to transport the books to each of the zones but the feedback I got is that money was still collected from principals of some of those schools.
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“We had issues of local inspectors of education asking for gratification before they will do what they were supposed to do. These are challenges and this is where I need your assistance. So, I need you to talk to your members. It is not easy to get me to give up. Let the people do the right thing,” Makinde said.
To handle corruption cases in the state, Makinde said the board that will ensure the operationalisation of the Oyo State Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will soon be formed.
In his remarks, Oyo NUT Chairman, Mr Samson Adedoyin, lauded the Makinde administration for its free education policy, prompt payment of salary, the appointment of a school principal as Permanent Secretary, Teaching Service Commission, the release of running grant for the last term and free distribution of books to secondary schools.
He, however, presented a litany of requests to include asking that a member of NUT be member of the Teaching Service Commission and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), that more money be provided in SUBEB for car and housing loan and that government pays the 2018 and 2019 leave bonus for primary school teachers.
Furthermore, Adedoyin demanded the state government releases running grant for second term and absorbs some more teachers who were “wrongfully” dismissed in the last verification exercise of the immediate past administration.
Adedoyin also asked that the state government extends its free distribution of books to primary schools, while urging the state governor to prevail on the consultant handling the ongoing verification exercise, Sally Tibbot, to be fair in the ongoing verification exercise.