Imo Assembly Summons Principals, SEMB Officials Over Alleged Extortion, High WAEC Fees

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By Okey Alozie

Imo State House of Assembly has summoned Principals of Public Secondary Schools and top officials of Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) to appear before it over the alleged high handedness, extortion, collection of high registration fees of West African School Certificate Examination (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO).

The Principals and the SEMB officials as we gathered are to appear before the House committee on Education on Tuesday 27th January 2024 for interrogation.

Report has it that for more than two weeks now SEMB is said to have been under serious fire for not living up to expectations by not executing its major mandate of effective supervision in teaching and learning in Imo Public Secondary Schools.

The Principals as we gathered are not properly monitored and supervised, as a result, some of them misbehaved in one way or the order.

It was alleged that the Principals extort money from students by charging them high registration fees for both WAEC and NECO Exams.

Many Principals, in Imo State collected more than what was stipulated for WAEC and NECO registration.

While Stakeholders and Government Authority approved N61,000 as registration fees for both WAEC and NECO registration,  some greedy Principals went on their own to do otherwise by collecting above N80,000. They made registration of NECO and WAEC compulsory when it is not supposed to be so. Registration of both exams is optional as we were told. The worst hit in sharp practices are schools in Owerri zone. Parents and their children have continued to raize alarm on these extortions against this backdrop the lawmakers now considered it necessary to invite principals and SEMB officials.

We further gathered that there were series of complains against SEMB on punitive transfer of Teachers of teachers.

Some teachers complained of victimization by some of the directors of SEMB. One of them who spoke under strict anonymity to our reporter revealed that some school have good number of teachers while others do not have teachers for key subjects. The posting according to aggrieved Teachers of Secondary Schools was not done in good faith rather it was designed to favour some Principals who are close to the top management officials of SEMB.

The worst hit in the punitive and unrationalized posting of teachers is Egbu Comprehensive Secondary School Owerri North, LGA.

In Government Secondary School Owerri, more than 10 teachers were transferred out without cogent and justified reasons, uptil now the transferred teachers have not been replaced at all.

Concerned Imolites want Government to investigate this punitive and unrationalized posting and transfer of teachers in Imo State.