WAEC Registration:School Principals In Imo Under Scrutiny Over Extortion Of Students

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Over twenty secondary school principals in Imo State are under scrutiny for allegedly extorting money from students during the ongoing Senior WAEC registration. Reports indicate that these principals have transformed their schools into special centers for special candidates taking the Senior WAEC exams, exploiting the situation for financial gain.

It was gathered that these unscrupulous principals obtained unauthorized approval to demand money from students registering for the West Africa Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (Senior WASCE) for 2024. It was also revealed that these principals, in defiance of the agreed-upon registration fees set by stakeholders in secondary education in Imo State, are coercing students to pay exorbitant fees, amounting to over N80,000, for both WAEC and NECO registration.

While the authorities approved only N29,000 for NECO registration and N32,000 for WAEC registration in Imo State, investigations have uncovered that over 7,000 principals, allegedly connected to those in power, have conspired to compel students to pay unauthorized fees. Moreover, they are mandating students to register for both NECO and WAEC simultaneously, despite it not being mandatory.

An Owerri based tabloid reported on Tuesday that Governor Hope Uzodinma has expressed concern over the unjustifiable fees charged by these principals and has directed those who collected more than the approved amounts to refund the excess funds to students promptly.

However, these directives have been reportedly ignored by the principals, who continue to enforce illegal levies, including charges for send-off parties, lessons, practicals, exam assistance, and other miscellaneous fees, before registering students for the 2024 Senior WAEC.

This issue has escalated to an alarming level, with affected students and their parents calling on the Governor to intervene and remedy the situation.

A source within the state government told this newspaper that the government has announced plans to take decisive action to uncover the truth and hold the perpetrators accountable. According to the source “those found guilty of extorting money from students under the guise of exam registration will face immediate dismissal”

This newspaper observed that Imo State’s education sector has been plagued by setbacks due to widespread exam malpractices occurring in various institutions.

WAEC has de-recognized over 200 schools in Imo State due to these malpractices, which were uncovered during the marking stages of examinations. The de-recognized schools have been ordered to pay an annual fine of N150,000. This rampant corruption within secondary schools has enriched many principals, as they operate with minimal oversight and accountability.

Some education experts in the state argued that the exploitation of students during WAEC registration by unscrupulous principals is a grave injustice that must be addressed swiftly and decisively.

Mr Ernest Eke, who runs an educational extra mural centre in Owerri called on Governor Uzodinma’s administration to uphold the rule of law and ensure that those responsible for extorting money from students are held accountable and face appropriate consequences.

“Only through stringent enforcement of regulations and accountability measures can the integrity of the education system be restored and the rights of students protected in the State.” Eke said.

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