Posted by News Express | 30 January 2021 | 642 times
By BOLU-OLU ESHO, Akure
Parents and guardians in Ondo State have cried out over the growing spate of extortion going on in secondary schools, particularly in public schools, in the state.
In an open letter to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, a copy of which was obtained by SATURDAY INDEPENDENT in Akure, the state capital on Saturday, the concerned parents lamented that principals, owners of private schools and publishers with the supervision of the state Ministry of Education were conspiring to fleece parents and guardians by changing textbooks being used by students every session.
The letter signed by one Segun Odidi from Lijofi Quarters, Igbotako,
Okitipupa Local Government Area of the state, on behalf of concerned parents, was titled: “MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, PUBLISHERS AND SCHOOL OWNERS ARE MILKING US DRY IN ONDO STATE.”
The letter reads in parts: “Your Excellency, it becomes imperative to bring to your notice urgently through this means the unwholesome practice of school owners and publishers under the supervision of Ministry of Education headed by my brother, Pastor Femi Agagu.
“The practice now is so arbitrary, bad and placed unnecessary financial burdens on the parents, a situation where a child cannot inherit textbooks from his elder brother and use when he gets to the class where the elderly brother just got promoted to other senior class is not only unacceptable to parents but satanic in practice.
“If I may ask your Commissioner of Education through your exalted office, sir, what happened to the previous practice where the curriculum is constant and gives room for younger ones to make use of the textbooks earlier used by the elderly ones?
“What is the interest of the Proprietors of Schools and the Ministry of Education,the supervisory body?
“Why are they changing curriculum each passing session to the extent that those very good old practice that reduces burden on parents have been discarded?
“Your Excellency, the good people of Ondo State need answer to these questions sir.
“We want you to call the Ministry of Education, Schools and publishers to order, the idea of changing curriculum, changing Textbooks every session/ term is not acceptable.
“Our prayers are that let the curriculum be constant, let’s deliberately reduce the stress and financial burden on parents, let’s go back to the old practice where younger child can make use of the books used by the elder brother when he gets to the particular class or level.
“Your Excellency, as a good citizen of this state, we have the right to cry out to you for assistance when unnecessary burden is placed on us due to sharp practices, insensitivity to the plights of parents by proprietors and supervisory Ministry just because of RETURNS they get from the Publishers after milking the innocent parents dry.”
Speaking with SATURDAY INDEPENDENT, Mr. Odidi disclosed that he had submitted the hard copy of the letter at the Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, Akure.
He lamented the rate at which parents and guardians are being defrauded through the purchase of new textbooks which are usually given to teachers to sell to students on a commission basis.
According to a parent, Mrs Deborah Oluyimide, the government officials in the State Ministry of Education allegedly collected graft from publishers to have their textbooks recommended for schools.
She said: “We have it on good authority that publishers approach these officials in the State Ministry of Education with bribe so they can recommend their textbooks for schools in the state.
“Ask the Education Board that recommends textbooks to be used by secondary schools why it changes the books every academic session.
“If the All Progressives Congress (APC) government in the state is operating a true free education like in Ogun State, where government distributes textbooks to students and collects same the following academic session before giving such students new ones for the new class, would they have been changing textbooks every new session like they do now?
“It’s absolute corruption that needs to be tackled by Governor Akeredolu to clear his name from any complicity in this open official fraud, most importantly that revenue generated from this goes to individual’s pocket.”
A school proprietor in Akure, who preferred anonymity, told SATURDAY INDEPENDENT that the changes being made in the textbooks recommended was unnecessary.
He noted that publishers only changed backcover and probably renumbered the chapters of the books, but the content remained the same.
He said, “The changes they make in the titles of the books being used are irrelevant. The Abbabio, M. Nelkon of this world are still relevant. Surely there could be an improvement in some of the topics, but it’s not worth changing the textbooks every academic session.
“As far as I am concerned, I don’t subscribe to this. But we don’t have a choice, we must adhere to government’s directives.” (Saturday Independent)
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