Abakaliki - The government of Ebonyi on Monday banned the collection of N500 lesson fee and other unauthorised fees from students of public secondary schools.
The state’s Commissioner for Education, Ndubuisi Chibueze-Agbo, announced the ban at a meeting between principals of public secondary schools and officials of the ministry in Abakaliki.
He said the ban was necessary to check undue exploitation of students in public schools by school authorities.
"The collection of N500 from students for extra lessons and money in lieu of handicraft amounted to extortion and negated the free education policy the Gov. Martin Elechi administration,” he said.
The commissioner warned that any principal found violating the ban risked demotion or outright dismissal from service.
Chibueze-Agbo urged the principals to shun acts capable of undermining the transformation going on in the education sector.
He called on the principals to show commitment and dedication in the discharge of their duty to consolidate on the progress already made in the sector.
"As critical stakeholders in secondary education, the government and the general public expect much from you in our very attempt to build a solid, functional and qualitative secondary education.
"You have a lot of responsibilities placed on your shoulders as we partner together to make the future of our students in our schools even brighter by giving them sound and quality education.
"I implore you to display a high level of commitment and patriotism in the discharge of your duties,’’ he said.
The commissioner called on the principals to ensure effective monitoring and supervision of teachers under them to enhance the promotion of academic excellence and discipline.
He assured them of the government’s commitment to uplifting the welfare of teachers and also providing conducive teaching and learning environment.
Chibueze-Agbo commended the school heads for the giant strides in the war against examination malpractice and urged them not to relent.
He said the state was still enjoying the status of ‘an examination malpractice free state’ conferred on it by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in 2011.
"It is a clear indication that our policy of zero tolerance to malpractice is yielding positive results. I therefore urge you not to rest on your oars,’’ he said.