Some schools in Calabar, capital of Cross River State, have reportedly stopped many pupils from taking part in the ongoing terminal examinations over their inability to either pay end of term party fees, or bring brooms and toilet papers.
ecocitytv reports that parents and guardians are not happy with the development, describing it as extortion by the schools, having paid the normal school fees.
They further expressed disappointment that the school authorities sent their wards and children home for not paying the said party fees.
Speaking during a phone-in programme in FAD FM, one of the respondents, Mrs Virginia Ekanem disclosed that some of the teachers in private schools were sending pupils to hawk wares even during school hours.
She expressed anger that such development occurred without the knowledge of parents who believed that their children were actually in schools.
Another parent, Inyang Ikpeme lamented, “Our school system has collapsed. Our school management is not helping our children at all. They are extorting pupils and parents.
“They are collecting money from pupils for toilet papers, full-scap sheets for exams, brooms, exam fee, terminal party fees. If pupils don’t pay, they are either sent home or blocked from sitting for terminal examinations. By the way, why are pupils made to pay for exams?”
She further lamented that, “many of the teachers are not even teaching but will pack ‘homework’ for the pupil to go home with, so that their parents would teach them, even when we have paid school fees.”
Some of the callers blamed the government and the school inspectors for not paying attention to their responsibilities.
Another caller, Edwin Etim said, “During our time, there used to be school inspectors who visited schools to monitor the standard of teaching. They used to visit schools discreetly. But today, school management will corner them and rub their palms and they will overlook such an important task.”
A teacher, Alfred Udo, who also called in, explained that not all schools collected the said items or stopped children from taking exams.
“Sometimes, parents won’t pay school fees and would later take away their wards to another school. We insist on school fees to avert a situation like that”, he said.
They appealed to the State government to enact a rule that ensures that teachers in both private and government schools are paid well, and that no school unduly places hidden charges on unsuspecting pupils.
Reacting, the special adviser to the governor on education, Castro Ezama, said: “This information is very shocking. To stop children from taking examinations is very inhuman. Denying a child who paid school fees, which includes exam fees, access to the exam hall is intolerable. They should administer exams to these children without conditions, otherwise we will take it up with them..”