By Tony Edike
ENUGU – Despite the avowed free education policy of the Enugu State Government, pupils of some primary schools in the state are now levied to pay private teachers hired to augment the shortfall in the number of teachers in the state.

For instance, while 198 pupils of Central School II Akpugo in Nkanu West Local Government Area of the state are levied N50 monthly to pay a private teacher hired to handle a class without teacher, other schools pay several levies some of them running into hundreds of naira.

Investigations by Vanguard in some local government areas revealed that the pupils whose parents and guardians are now worried by the incessant levies by their teachers are threatening a showdown with the school authorities if the levies were not stopped.

One of the parents, Mr. Okezie Nnamani whose three children are in primary schools in the local government, expressed dismay that the incessant levies were becoming a burden to his family.

“How can anybody keep telling us that there is free education at the primary level when I practically ppay the school fees of my children in the name of levies? It is either I am paying to augment teachers’ salaries or I am being made to pay for toilet rolls, hand craft, agriculture levy, environment levy among others,” he said.

Nnamani, therefore, called on the state government to immediate address the situation in order not to discourage parents in rural areas from sending their wards to school.

The Headmistress of the Central School II Akpugo, Mrs Esther Ogbodo, said she collects only N50 monthly from 198 pupils in the school to pay the salary of an extra teacher hired handle some classes.

She said that the school originally had three teachers, the Headmistress and her assistant, explaining that it was difficult for them to cope with the six classes hence the need to hire additional teacher through a private arrangement to assist.

It was also discovered that the six classes are accommodated in one hall while the Headmistress and her assistant had no offices and table.

The pupils also lack writing desks and other facilities while the pit latrines dug many years back had been taken over my weeds forcing the pupils to defecate in the nearby bush.

The Headmistress lamented that some well-to-do parents are taking their wards to some private schools within and outside the community owing to lack of teachers and facilities in the public schools and urged the government to check the trend.

Efforts to speak with the Chairman of the Local Government, Mr Ekene okenwa on the development proved abortive as he was not present in his office when Vanguard called just as he could not be reached on his mobile phone.


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