Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has explained that the decision to stop the payment of the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination fee for candidates in the state public schools and the introduction of N3,000 annual Developmental Levy for the pupils are temporary.
Governor Ajimobi, while fielding questions from newsmen at the Government House on Thursday evening, explained that the decisions were borne out of the economic reality in the state and the desire to address the abysmal performance of candidates in the examination.
He added that the decision to introduce the levy was taken after it was discovered that parents no longer involve themselves in the education of their children. He added that the Parents Teachers Association and community leader were consulted before the decisions were taken.
His words: “With the paucity of fund in the state, we had to face the reality that we could not continue to sponsor children without involving their parents in a way. This is why we introduced the developmental levy. It’s just for a period of time; as soon as things improve for the state financially, we will put it down. It is an emergency situation that we must address.
“Training of children is not the sole responsibility of government or teachers, parents must play their role too. We discussed with the parents and realised that because parents are not involved in secondary education of their children, they no longer bother what happen to them.
“We set up a committee to discuss with Parents Teachers Association, community leaders, individual parents and so on. Interestingly, many of the parents felt that if they were also contributing by paying something, they would be more attentive to the education of their children.”
While pointing out that the levy was agreed with the parents, Ajimobi said the government was aware of what he called a ‘political backlash’.
“The N3000 levy was equally jointly agreed upon but I must point out that the emergency situation will not be forever. We envisage political backlash on the decision but we cannot promise what we cannot afford. Oyo State now earns around N3bn from Federal Allocation while we have a wage bill of more than N5bn.
“Our Internally Generated Revenue is N1bn; so every month, we will continue to owe if we don’t adjust our spending”