Following a report by the PRESS on how headteachers and principals denied indigent children access to education because their parents could not afford the registration fee despite the state government’s free education policy.
The Lagos State Government has constituted a panel to investigate the alleged extortion of money from parents by some public primary and secondary schools’ administrators in the state.
Reports had, on December 4, revealed that a seven-year-old girl, Zainab Okin; Basit Daodu, 12; his brother, Muiz, 10, were denied admission because their parents could not pay registration fee, ranging between N1,000 and N2,500 at St. Michael Primary School II and Alaworo Primary School, Ojo.
The children live with their parents in the Iloro, Ojo area of the state.
Despite a notice indicating ‘registration is free’ on the door to her office, the head teacher of St. Michael Primary School II, one Mrs. Adepoju, collected N1,000 registration fee from our correspondent, who disguised as a guardian to Okin.
Ten-year-old Abeeb Amasa of Mapowo Street, Ojo, dropped out of school after his 60-year-old father could no longer afford the fees while his sister, Rukayat, stopped at JSS3 in Ojo High School because of N2,000 “re-sit fee.”
She also requested some items, including N250 payment for whiteboard to cement Okin’s studentship.
A top government official, however, told The PUNCH on Thursday that a panel had been set up by the deputy governor on December 5 to investigate the issues raised in the report, adding that any teacher or school administrator found culpable would be summarily dealt with.
The Principal, Awori College (Junior School), Mr. Inlo, also directed our correspondent to a woman beside his office, who demanded that 12-year-old Femi Akinyemi pay N10,000 so his name could be included in the admission list.
The SUBEB spokesperson could not be reached for comments on Thursday as calls put across to his mobile rang out.
Another competent source told our correspondent that the state government would address the press as soon as the panel came up with its findings.