By Florence Ugbem
Leadership of Education Stakeholders Forum in Benue State has appealed to the state government to wade into the crisis between WAEC and over 400 schools in the State whose 2023 results were withheld for alleged examination malpractices.
This appeal was made last Monday at the Conference Hall, Ministry of Education headquarters, when the leadership of the forum led by the Education Secretary, NKST, Pastor Moses Akem visited the commissioner.
According to Pastor Akem, over 400 schools within the state were in 2022 derecognized during WASSCE for alleged involvement in examination malpractices and subsequently fined ₦500, 000 and ₦200, 000, respectively for administrative charges, which he said, incited parents and students against the affected schools.
Pastor Akem said failure of the schools to pay the fine imposed on the by the examination body led to the non-release of the 2023 results.
According to the Forum, the government’s intervention is not to pay the fines but to find a way of settling the matter without payment.
The forum insisted that WAEC is not supposed to monetize examination malpractice, which it noted, is a crime in Nigeria, but place sanctions.
The stakeholders gave an instance of Ebonyi State where the state government countersued WAEC and asked the examination body to pay a substantial amount of money to the state government who has been providing conducive environment for WAEC examinations which made WAEC to withdraw the fines placed on schools they accused of examination malpractices.
The stakeholders also appealed for the establishment of a “Private Schools Management Unit” at the Ministry of Education headquarters for effective monitoring of Private Schools and ensure uniformity in standards/operations and check the proliferation and menace of illegal schools, which they noted was on the increase.
The forum lamented the deplorable condition of schools across the state, multiple levies and taxation on schools by government agencies and called for intervention of the governor.
They also appealed to the governor to consider the appointment of the Executive Secretary, Teaching Service Board and Science/Technical Education Board from among the serving Principals for better and effective management of schools in the state.
The Forum expressed its readiness to support and work with the commissioner given a conducive and level playing ground towards repositioning education in the state for the good of the Benue Child.
Responding, the Commissioner for Education and Knowledge Management, Dr. Frederick Ikyaan commended the Stakeholders Forum for their commitment and resilience towards education and called for synergy to bring growth and development to the state.
Dr. Ikyaan promised to draw the attention of the governor to the challenges affecting education, adding that the Governor Alia-led administration is poised towards human capital development.