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Kogi govt vows to punish principals who charge fees to sabotage free education policy

The state commissioner for education says no student is allowed to pay fees in any guise.

Usman Ahmed Ododo, the Governor of Kogi State.

Jones gave the warning on Monday at the 2024 Children’s Day celebration held at Muhammad Buhari Square in Lokoja.

Jones emphasised that public schools had remained tuition-free and declared that “any principal or head teacher who smuggles fees into the system does so at his or her peril.”

The commissioner warned that erring officials would be severely punished, and advised parents and students to report erring officials to the authority.

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He stressed that the government had prioritised education and was giving all the needed attention to its functional growth.

Jones maintained that since the assumption of office of the immediate past and present administrations, education had been on the front burner of its thematic areas of concentration.

He disclosed that the administration had successfully enacted education law which exempted students and pupils from payment of both internal and external examinations.

The examinations covered include WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB, BECE and others, he said, and advised parents and students to report any infraction from their schools.

“No student is allowed to pay fees in any guise. Both internal examinations and public examinations are free.

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“I am calling on parents and students to report any erring principals: we are resolute to punish them accordingly,” he said.

He added that in line with the philosophy to guarantee qualitative education, the government had approved 30% of budgetary allocation to the sector, “far above the UNESCO recommended 26%.”

According to him, the education trajectory of the administrations had surpassed previous governments before 2016, with the investment restoring confidence in the public schools in the state.

He said that for proper planning, the free fees are targeted at public schools for now.

“Private schools will be considered in the future", he said.

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Jones advised students to justify the huge investment outlay on them by taking their studies seriously, even as extracurricular activities could be an added advantage.

He used the occasion to mourn the two students who lost their lives during the recent abduction of students of Confluence University of Science and Technology, Osara.

The students were among the 25 students abducted from the school by bandits that invaded the institution around 9.00 pm on May 9.

In her remarks, the wife of the governor, Hajia Sefinat Ododo, while reviewing the match pass from students, said children were the heartbeat of any nation as they were destined to be leaders of tomorrow.

Mrs Ododo, who was represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajia Fatimah Momoh, stressed the need to harness the children’s talent at an early ages.

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“The theme of this year’s celebration – Enhancing the Total well-being of the Nigerian child through Education and Skills Development, is apt in the role children play in shaping the future of the country,” she said.

She noted that Kogi had been meticulous in allocating high resources to the sector, guaranteeing qualitative and people-centric education to the citizens.

According to her, the government is committed to quality education for all children.

He charged parents and all stakeholders to ensure that students attained their full potential.

She urged students to be stars of today and tomorrow and to avoid acts detrimental to their education progression.

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On her part, the Deputy Speaker of the Kogi House of Assembly, Comfort Egwaba, admonished students to maintain their position as the pride of the nation.

She assured them that Governor Ahmed Ododo would continue to mobilise resources for the transformation of education sector in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highlights of the Children's Day celebration included match past, calisthenics display, carnival shows, Music, and dance, among others.

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