By LUKMAN GARBA, Bauchi
The Bauchi State Government has identified corruption in the sponsorship of students for WAEC, NECO and other examinations as responsible for the full implementation of the 2018 government policy on sponsoring candidates who passed MOCK and aptitude test.
The Chief of Staff, Government House Bauchi, Dr Ladan Salihu dropped this hint while addressing journalists on the protest conducted by students of Secondary Schools in the state.
Dr Ladan Salihu said the issue of corruption in WAEC sponsorship is one of the matter that could not be solved by the recent governments until now as many candidates were enrolled for sponsorship which the last government found difficult to settle.
“Though His Excellency the Deputy Governor, Senator Baba Te has addressed the protesting students, it has become pertinent to inform the public that this government is committed to improving the standard of education in the state and it has taken cogent steps in that direction.
“It has overhauled the direct feeding system, reduced school fees to improve access of children to education, devised means that ensure that teachers and other school staff go to work promptly, stopped corrupt practices in education administration, built up the capacity of Ministry staff, etc.”
According to him, corrupt officials committed the last government to the tune of N612million on 2019 WASSCE alone, from which it failed to settle even a kobo.
The Chief of staff pointed out that from the inherited debt, the present government has settled half and has gone into agreement with WAEC on how the remainder will be settled fully in 9 months, along with the N183million of the new 2020 registration.
Dr Ladan Salihu said as a responsible government committed to reforms, the administration of Governor Bala Mohammed has conducted aptitude test in all public schools out of which 21,000 students met in the schools and tested where 12,000 have been found eligible.
“This figure, in addition to that of Special Schools, is what made the 13,011 candidate who government will sponsor this year.
Government has in addition pleaded with WAEC to allow parents to pay for their wards who did not make it on the government sponsored list and the examination body has agreed to do so.These are the facts about WAEC sponsorship.”
He noted that sponsoring all candidates in the state for examinations will not encourage hard work among students as Bauchi remained in the 31st position in WASSCE among the 36 states of the federation.
“This must change. And it will not be done easily. One if the measures necessary in achieving a change are the implementation of already existing policies – like WASSCE sponsorship – that challenge our children to study hard”, he stated.
He however said government is not unaware that some elements in the education sector whose corrupt and lazy activities were stopped by the ongoing reforms are working hard to cause trouble in order to force government to rescind its stand and return to the corrupt practices of the past.
“They instigated the protesting students and accompanied them to on the street. This is unbecoming of any public servant.”
He enjoined parents to caution their children against allowing themselves to be used in the promotion of corruption and unrest but they should support government’s effort in ensuring that their wards get better education.
Dr Ladan Salihu therefore tasked principals, teachers and other staff to assist government in the reforms it is undertaking aimed at making their work more meaningful and their products better.
Speaking further on the issue, the State Commissioner for Education, Dr Aliyu Tilde said with the implementation of the new policy, the state government will only this year pay 183 million naira as against 612 million naira in the past.
Dr Aliyu Tilde said henceforth, only qualified candidates will be considered for the payment of NECO, WAEC and other examinations by the government.