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School Officials Suspended Over Free Education Policy

Taraba Principal, Exam Officer Suspended for Alleged Violation of Free Education Policy

by Victor Adetimilehin

The Taraba State government in Nigeria has taken a strong stance against the alleged sabotage of its free education policy, suspending a principal and an examination officer.

Principals Accused of Thwarting Free Education Initiative

Haruna Joshua, the principal of Government Day Secondary School in Jalingo, and Ezekiel Rimamsikwe, the examination officer, face accusations of collecting registration fees for the 2024 West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examinations Council (NECO) exams from students. These actions directly contradict Governor Agbu Kefas’s recently introduced free and compulsory education policy for all primary and secondary schools in Taraba State.

The Ministry of Education wasted no time in addressing the situation. According to a statement released on April 5, 2024, Permanent Secretary Abel Joachim issued suspension letters to both individuals. The letters mandated the immediate handover of their positions to the school’s Vice Principal of Administration. Furthermore, a panel has been established to investigate the allegations thoroughly. This panel’s findings will determine the appropriate disciplinary measures to ensure adherence to the free education policy.

Free Education as a Beacon of Hope

Governor Kefas implemented the free education policy in July 2023 to alleviate the financial burden on families struggling after the removal of fuel subsidies. This initiative targets improved access to education and a reduction in dropout rates across Taraba State. By eliminating financial barriers, the policy aims to create a more equitable learning environment and empower students to pursue their academic goals.

Taraba’s free education policy is a significant step towards ensuring educational equity within the state. However, the incident involving the suspended officials highlights a national need for stricter enforcement mechanisms and broader public awareness campaigns regarding such policies.

Education is widely regarded as a cornerstone of societal development. Free and accessible education empowers individuals, fosters social mobility, and strengthens the overall economy. In light of this, the Taraba State government’s commitment to its free education policy serves as a commendable example for other Nigerian states to consider.

A Call for Transparency and Continued Commitment

The ongoing investigation into the alleged violation of Taraba’s free education policy is a crucial step towards ensuring transparency and accountability within the education system. The public awaits the panel’s findings and the subsequent disciplinary actions. These measures will send a clear message that the state prioritizes its free education initiative and will not tolerate attempts to undermine it.

Looking ahead, continued commitment from the Taraba State government, coupled with strong enforcement mechanisms and effective public awareness campaigns, will be essential for the long-term success of the free education policy. This policy has the potential to transform the educational landscape in Taraba State, empowering students and fostering a brighter future for all.

Source: Punch

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