People using N3,000 stoppage to sabotage our education plans ― Makinde

⦁ Vows to jail anyone found collecting illegal fees

Oyo State Governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday, bemoaned efforts by some persons hellbent on sabotaging and frustrating his plans for the education sector owing to his administration’s stoppage of the payment of N3,000 development levy.

Such plans, he noted, was seen in those regarding the stoppage of N3,000 as affecting the engagement of security men leading to burning and looting of schools, the shortage of teachers and nonpayment of teachers employed by Parents Teachers Associations (PTA) of schools.

Explaining that the pronouncement for stoppage N3,000 and collection of illegal fees was due to lack of accountability, Makinde warned that he will not hesitate to jail anyone found collecting levies or fees now considered illegal.

He particularly warned those said to have mandated school heads to each pay N2,000 for them to get government’s running grants that they will be dealt with if caught.

Makinde made these statements at the commissioning of a students’ hall of Ilora Baptist Grammar School, Ilora donated by an old student of the school, Mr Remi Oyekola.

Speaking, he wondered whether the banned N3,000 was ever meant for the PTA to warrant teachers engaged by PTA not to be paid anymore.

He maintained that the PTA was formed out of the volition of parents and teachers to assist the government in the running of schools, hence students should not be compelled to pay PTA levy.

He chided naysayers about his stoppage of N3,000 levy, asserting that his administration was resolute on its free education stance and will continue to access UBEC funding to boost the state’s education sector.

Acknowledging that there was a shortage of teachers in the state’s public schools, Makinde said he had given approval for the recruitment of teachers.

“I learnt that the PTA teachers were no longer being paid because we stopped the payment of N3,000 development levy.

“Was the N3,000 meant for PTA? The PTA was formed out of the volition of parents and teachers to look after the welfare of the school and students. We encourage parents to invest in the upliftment of the school where they have their wards or children. However, teachers must not go into the classroom to compel students to pay PTA levy. The levy is voluntary and it is fine if parents contribute.

“What we discovered when we assumed office is that N3,000 development levy was one huge fraud.

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“I’m aware of the issue of shortage of teachers and this has been happening before the PTA also waded in. But, it is hard for people to say that the stoppage of N3,000 is the reason for the shortage of teachers. As I stand in front of you, I have given the approval to recruit teachers.

“I plead with those hell-bent on sabotaging government’s efforts. About two days, some people burnt a school and stole laboratory equipment in some other schools. They also linked this to the stoppage of N3,000, whereby schools were unable to pay security guards.

“Just three days ago, I learnt that the principals, on their platform, were each told to contribute N2,000 for them to get the running grants that we want to give schools.

“I have said that I would jail anyone who is in charge of collecting such money. We won’t tolerate anyone who wants to sabotage our plans for the education sector. Anyone who nurses the ambition to frustrate our programme for the education sector in Oyo state will be dealt with. Education in Oyo state has experienced many systemic failures and this administration is focused on dealing with these failures by re-engineering processes,” Makinde said.

Speaking further, Makinde said the School Governing Boards (SGBs) will be reconstituted and mandated to do a regular audit.

To further ensure accountability of the SGBs, Makinde said principals will have varying approval limits.

“The SGBs will be reinstated; we are not changing anything. Principals can spend N0 to N20,000; however, the finance committee of SGBs will approve of spending between N20,000 to N200,000; while the entire SGB will approve of spending more than N200,000. Also, we will audit their accounts.

“Anyone who believes that he can only survive by collecting illegal fees should rather resign because that era of collecting N3,000 is behind us,” Makinde added.

While expressing wonder at the free education stance of the Makinde government, the donor, Mr Remi Oyekola, in his remarks, said parents should also be willing to spend some money for the education of their wards or children.

Describing education as an expensive venture, Oyekola prayed the state government grants school heads the independence to evolve ways to make money to run their schools aside from government funding.

He also asked for a return of boarding houses to public schools in the state.

School principal, Mrs Titi Akintujoye, saluted investment of old students in the school over time in the provision of infrastructure, scholarship, skill development and mentorship of current students.

She, however, sought the state government’s intervention in equipping the school’s laboratory, completing the fencing of the school and providing a school bus.

In attendance at the event were the Akinbio of Ilora, Oba Stephen Oyeniyi; President, Old Students Association, Mr Sola Olawale among other old students of the school

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