Our free education policy doesn’t cover WAEC/NECO payment ― Oyo govt

• To recall over 300 'wrongfully sacked/dismissed' workers

Oyo Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Dahud Sangodoyin, on Tuesday, listed components of the Governor Seyi Makinde led administration’s free education policy.

Responding to journalists’ questions on outcry in some sections of the public that SS3 students were to pay for external examinations, Sangodoyin said the state government’s free education policy encompassed improving accessibility, ensuring conducive teaching and learning environment, rewarding excellent performance, enabling teachers to have requisite skills.

Specifically, he averred that the policy covered the provision of textbooks, exercise books, compendium, provision of infrastructural facilities, cancellation of payment of levies and tuition fees.

Making reference to operations of free education in the state, in the past, Sangodoyin said the state’s education policy did not include payment for external examinations.

He posited that parents usually reached a decision on what external examination their children or wards should sit for hence they had a duty to pay themselves.

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While maintaining that the state’s free education policy subsisted, he held that parents also had to play their own role in the education of their children and wards.

“Our free education covers the issue of accessibility, in other words, giving free textbooks, provision of compendium of questions and answers, free exercise books, provision of infrastructural facilities in our schools. We believe that the burden of parents while their children are in school should be cancelled. So, levies, tuition in primary and secondary school has been cancelled.

“When you look at policies of Baba Awolowo and late Chief Bola Ige, they did free education but it does not include external examinations. External examination is a decision of the parents and children. It could be a decision to not sit for WAEC but London examination like Cambridge.

“So, our own government is providing conducive environment for learning and indeed free education should be the responsibility of our government and the parents also. Therefore, the free education policy stands, but the payment of external examination is the decision of the parents of our children,” Sangodoyin said.

Speaking further, Sangodoyin said the state had set aside N57.4 million for 1,280 teachers to partake in intervention lesson classes for SS3 students.

Meanwhile, state Commissioner for Establishment and Training, Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye also, on Tuesday, conveyed the state government’s decision to recall over 300 sacked workers.

The decision, according to Olaleye, is in implementing some of the recommendations of the Mr David Olatunde led investigative panel set up by Makinde to consider appeals, the petition of over alleged illegal retirement, dismissal between 2011 and 2019, which submitted its report on October 18.

Approved for a recall to service are 12 workers with a court judgment in their favour, about 300 people established to have been wrongfully dismissed or retired.

However, Olaleye said about 499 people confirmed with fake certificates, will not be recalled.

“We have 12 workers with judgment of the court which government will honour, we have seven others who have their cases in court. We have about 300 people who it was established to have either been dismissed or retired without going through due process. Those ones will be recalled back into the system.

“The government has forgiven their shortcomings because they were also punished without following due process. The government has agreed to bring them back into the system. We have about 499 people confirmed with fake certificates, those ones will not be recalled. You’ll see the other small breakdown and details of the recommendation and approval,” Olaleye said.

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