By Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
Following alleged non-remittance of the development levy by some private schools into the coffers of the Ekiti State, the government has commenced total closure of the affected institutions across the state.
The state government had introduced N1,000 per term development levy for secondary school students and N500 for those at the primary cadre in both private and public schools being a resolution reached at the state’s Education Summit held last year September 8.
When journalists visited some private schools in Ado Ekiti yesterday, the main gate of some of the affected schools were under lock and key
Officials of the schools confided in journalists that all the students, who have just finished their first semester examinations and were awaiting vacation on Friday , were chased out as a way of compelling the proprietor to react promptly to payment .
They told journalists that most disturbing was the fact that children, who had paid the development levy were also chased out of the school premises with those that were indebted .
The staff of those schools were not allowed access into all the affected schools by the officials of the Ministry of Education that carried out the action.
“I didn’t know how this will be possible. The government want the money for each school to be paid in a lump sum , when the pupils were paying in piece meal. This cannot be possible .
“This means that the schools would have to use their money to pay for students that are defaulting, This is not going to be in the interest of the students that have paid and their parents as well”, they said.
But the Commissioner for Education, Mr Jide Eegunjobi, accused the proprietors of playing double standards over the implementation of the levy.
Eegunjobi expressed disappointment at the proprietors, whom he alleged of feigning ignorance of the implementation of the levy, in spite of several circulars and announcements that were made on the state based media houses.
“We learn’t that the schools proprietors were charging more than N1,000 per term for secondary school students and N500 per pupil at the primary level as recommended by the government. Most of these schools have even collected the money but they refused to remit to government’s coffers.
“We quite sympathize with the affected students but I think what we did was just a way of ensuring that parents of students that had paid would mount pressure on the proprietor to pay so that the schools can be reopened .
“There is nowhere in the world where taxes and levies were not paid. This is what is obtained anywhere across the globe.
“Some of them had collected for first and second terms, but refused to pay. They only started paying on March 18, 2016 when public schools have been paying since last year. This is unacceptable.
“We have mandated them to pay for first and second terms and if they fail, we will shut down the school permanently”, he said.