Bad habit – The Nation

  • State govts delaying paying WASSCE fees should turn a new leaf

Not a few incidents point a more poignant finger to the negligence for the education sector by the Nigerian political class than the fact that repeatedly, some errant state governments, in clear and selfish politically motivated pseudo-magnanimity, promise to pay the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) the exam fees for some of their students and renege on their promises, leading WAEC to withhold the students’ results.

In 2015 for instance, the examination body had to cry out through the media that it was financially crippled by a N4 billion indebtedness by 10 state governments that promised to pay but failed to do so. There was chaos, parents, guardians and wards were distraught . The media intervened and probably due to that, the affected governments paid the debts. But then, the damage had been done.

Year after year, immediately after the release of WAEC results, some innocent students’ results are withheld due to the irresponsibility of their state governments. Again, results have been released but  WAEC says that they are withholding the results of about 10 debtor states. Nothing, just nothing seems to have changed!

However, we are curious that very often, most of the debtor-reports from WAEC often shield the names of the debtor states. This repeated failure of some states to evaluate the serious impact of their inappropriate value on education is totally unacceptable and we condemn that mindset. The world is presently being ruled by ideas and technology and education is the roadmap. For all serious governments, education and health are key sectors in any country that desires development. It is therefore disturbing that repeatedly, most state governments, besides the WAEC debts, do not have viable policies on education.

Apparently, most of the state governments make the promises to pay for WAEC fees as some politically expedient exercise with little or no commitment to the welfare of the youths. For governors perceived by the public as living in luxury with all the appurtenances of office to be called out before they pay for a milestone examination that charts the course of the children’s future is just deplorable.

We believe that while the governors are not under any compulsion to make the payments or promises, they must, in their honour, fulfill their promises not just at their convenience but promptly so as not to put parents and students through the excruciating mental trauma that is totally avoidable.

More profound too is the fact that the attitude of the governors tells the world that their own children are not amongst those children that are being mentally tortured because they are probably in other countries where the taxpayers’ money is used to pay. This again points to the value most of our elected officials place on the priority that education of the children ought to be.

As an examination, every student is always eager for the result as well as the parents or guardians. Beyond that, the examination in question is a qualifying one to further studies in or out of the country and as a regional examination, there is a timetable globally followed. Withholding the results for reasons of state government indebtedness is not justice to the innocent children that ought to be cared for by governments. The mental torture can only be imagined and very often, the students are not even aware of the reasons as WAEC often never names states that refuse to pay. The people should also be discerning enough to shun governors who make politically expedient promises rather than enduring and valuable investments in education or other infrastructure

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