Education Commissioner Warns Teachers against Unapproved Levies

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By Charles Nwankwo

The Ebonyi State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Onyebuchi Chima, has warned Teachers in all public Schools from Nursery to Tertiary Institutions against collection of levies unapproved by Government

Dr. Chima sounded the warning when the State Officers of the Association of Primary Head Teachers (APSHON) made a voluntary familiarization visit to him in his office at Centenary City Abakaliki. 

The Hon. Commissioner who said that the Ministry of Education will soon start visiting schools and be taking spontaneous decision on those found guilty of the offence, wondered why some head teachers in urban, semi-urban and rural areas sit down and plan one thing and connive with PTA Chairman to collect levies that are not approved by the Ministry of Education.

Dr. Chima maintained that education board which is under the ministry will not approve any payment without the knowledge of the ministry, stating that if such happens it is an aberration.

He said that Government didn’t ask anybody to collect money for graft let alone what teachers called get prepared fee which they collect five hundred naira per pupil/student. 

Dr. Chima charged them to fight the corruption in primary school level, stating that if the local Education Secretaries are doing things arbitrarily without following procedure, the professionals in the system should raise alarm to the appropriate quarters in writing not by gossip because days are gone when teachers are intimidated. 

The commissioner encouraged teachers to play active role in what the state is doing and speak up at any point in time whenever irregularity is being perpetrated, pointing out that keeping quiet will exacerbate what the problem could be in the system.  

He implored them to make teaching profession enterprising, attesting that in overseas, professors teach in primary schools because the building block of Education starts at the primary level, that is where a child genius starts.

Describing primary school teachers as the major stakeholders in education and the beginning of Universal Basic Education, Dr. Chima condemned recklessness in the removal of head teachers in primary school by local education authority secretaries. 

He immediately directed the Director of Primary Education Department to request in writing for UBEB to provide the ministry with a white paper stipulating the bench mark for appointment of head teachers. 

He added that the issue of town union president and local heads to go to education secretary and demand removal of a particular head teacher for no just cause cannot be welcomed.

Dr. Chima advised the newly elected state officials to organize a professional leadership workshop so that the teachers will be refreshed. 

The Hon. Commissioner assured them that their request will be looked into.

Earlier in his address, the newly elected State Chairman of the Association of Primary School Head Teachers, Chief Emmanuel Nwali who said that the  state officers of the association came to familiarize with the Commissioner, narrated some of their predicament in the office stating that the twenty naira usually given to them from the one thousand two hundred naira being collected from common entrance and first school leaving certificate examination is not enough for running cost, recklessness of transfer and demotion of head teachers as some of their problems.

Chief Nwali appreciated the Hon. Commissioner’s proactive judgment and decision to issues, describing him as a great lecturer.  

Chief Nwali said that the association will innovate to adhere with the advice of the Commissioner for a better tomorrow.        

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