Reactions have continued to trail what some stakeholders describe as arbitrary increment in the fees payable for this year’s West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations (WASSCE).
The annual examination is organized by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). The Nation gathered from some private school owners and parents that WAEC’s decision to increase the examination fees was not communicated to schools and parents in good time.
And while many schools and parents were still struggling to pay the new fees, the examination body announced the closure of registration and subsequently imposed N5, 000 as penalty for late registration.
Our correspondent gathered that among other stakeholders, the Lagos State Chapter of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), had formally appeal to WAEC to drop the penalty charges, stating that the registrations exercise was slowed down because most parents and schools were not prepared for the increment in fees.
Some parents under the auspices of Concerned Lagos Parents, while speaking to reporters on Friday, during a peaceful rally at the Yaba, Lagos State office of the examination body, appealed to WAEC to consider the harsh economic realities of the country and drop the penalty. “The truth is that most parents are yet to get the actual fee. Adding N5,000 penalty will deny many pupils the opportunity to write the examination this year,” Mrs. Bolade Giwa-Amu, one of the parents, told The Nation.
School managements lamented that while they initially received information from WAEC that the registration has been extended to March 28, a letter signed by Dr. Adunola Osoba, the Deputy Registrar/Zonal Coordinator, WAEC, dated March 23, said the registration, which closed midnight March 20, would be reopened on March 21 and closed April 3, with N5000 as penalty for late registration for each candidate.
“However, late registration with a penalty of five thousand naira (N5000) only per candidate commenced on Monday, 21st March, 2022, and will run till midnight of Sunday, 3rd April, 2022″, the letter read. Those who have purchased pins but failed to upload will also be required to pay the penalty fee,” the letter added.
The school managers therefore appeal to the examination body and the government, to consider the interest of the pupils more and rescind the decision to fine late registrants. “Many parents are yet to pay the initial N18, 000. Don’t forget the fee was N13, 950 before it was jerked up. All stakeholders are on the same page. The increment was not properly communicated and the penalty is uncalled for,” they said.
Enquiries at the WAEC office didn’t yield much as the officers that attended to our reporter said they were not in position to speak on the matter. Further efforts at the Public Affairs Unit of the examination body in Ikeja area of the state also proved abortive.