October 30, 2023

Soludo’s free education under threat as Anambra school chases away pupils over fees

Anambra state governor Charles Soludo

Gov. Soludo

By Vincent Ujumadu

THE free education policy of Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State has come under a serious threat as authorities of a primary school in Dunukofia local government area of the state have chased away the pupils over non-payment of school fees.

Recall that Soludo had announced that there would be no more school fees for primary and junior secondary schools in the state, warning that anyone who defied the government policy would have himself to blame.

He said his administration was passionate about achieving an all-inclusive education in Anambra State, adding that no child within the school age from nursery to JSS 3 should be charged school fees or any other fees to acquire education in the state.

“The aim is to go back to the basics when education was used as the equalizer, such that children from poor and rich backgrounds will attend the same school and compete favourably. Children of school age will no longer be deprived of access to quality education,” the governor had said.

Four school Principals in Onitsha were suspended for allegedly demanding fees from their students after the governor’s directive, although they have since been pardoned.

But a relation of a pupil at Ozalla Primary School in Ifitedunu lamented that school authorities sent home his wards for not paying school fees.

According to him, the children of his late brother and other pupils of the school were sent home for not paying school fees of N4,500 each.

“As I’m talking to you, my brother’s children no longer go to school. They were asked to pay N4,500 each as school fees for those in the primary school session of the school and N2,000 for those in nursery school.

“They were chased away from the school before the weekend. The father of the children broke his spinal cord in an accident and died in the process.

“We are struggling to help the children. They are still tender. They are in Basic 1( Primary 1). The children are orphans.

“So many  other children of the  school were also sent home by the school for same reason,” he said.

Reacting to the development, the press secretary to the governor, Mr Christian Aburime said: “The Governor has said that no pupil in government public school should pay a dime. It’s tuition free and all manner of levies are not to be charged.

“So, if there is any headmaster or headmistress or whatever designation who violates that order, then he or she should be prepared to face the consequences.

“If you can tell us the name of the school, the head of the school, then appropriate action will be taken because it is a clear violation of  Governor Soludo’s directive.

” Every Anambra child who is in public school, from Primary 1 to JSS3 is not supposed to pay any form of fees or charges, whatsoever. So anybody in violation of that will have to face the consequences for disobeying the  directive of the governor.”