Groups allege extortion of parents by head teachers in Ajeromi-Ifelodun
Two non-governmental organisations, Dreams from the Slum Initiative (DSI), and Transform A Life Initiative (TAL), are calling on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, of Lagos State, to urgently investigate the activities of head teachers of some public primary schools in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Council.
According to the groups, some unscrupulous school heads in the area are sabotaging the state government’s free education policy by extorting monies from parents of their pupils.
Speaking during a “Back-To-School” programme, where they donated exercise books and writing materials to pupils from various public and private schools in Ajegunle, founder of DSI, Isaac Success Omoyele, alleged that some head teachers were still collecting money from parents before enrolling their children and wards.
This exploitation, he further alleged, has placed restrictions on some parents who cannot afford the amount, which range from N2, 000 to N3, 000. He therefore called on the government to quickly look into the matter, which he said is denying some pupils access to the state-funded free education policy.
He said, “Government declared free education in the state but in Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA, education is not totally free because some head teachers extort money from parents before accepting their wards in school. When we confronted them, they claimed they use part of the money to settle their bosses when they come for inspection. We are therefore appealing to the governor to use his good office and stop the illegal act.
“Majority of homes in this locality are less privileged, some of them hardly feed; some cannot even afford N120 exercise books, not to talk of N2, 000 or N3, 000 for enrolling their child in school. The reason DSI and TAL are partnering to provide writing materials to the pupils.”
Omoyele who noted that his organisation has been working to help improve the lot of children from the slum, hinted that parents complaints that they couldn’t send their children back to school due to lack of writing materials prompted the project.
Spokesperson of TAL, Fisayo Dayo-Samuel Ogunwalu, appealed to the government to critically review the plight of the children from the slum and include them in the state’s development plan.
“The children in rural areas are often neglected, particularly those from the slums. There is need for government to create programmes that would benefit and give them hope and reason to live, else most of them would end up becoming hoodlums and terrorising the society. Through the project, we are offering them materials that would enable them go back to school and benefit from opportunities that could transform their lives,” she said.Attempts to speak to the permanent secretary in charge of that education district were unsuccessful.