By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi
In a concerning development, some students in public secondary schools across Lagos State are facing the possibility of missing the registration deadline for this year’s West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE). The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) conducts the prestigious examination.
The Lagos State government traditionally covers the WASSCE fees for students in public secondary schools. However, challenges arise for parents working in the informal sector who must pay a mandatory N8,100 levy, while those in the formal sector can utilize their tax clearance certificates.
Last week, as the initial registration deadline approached, several students found themselves excluded from the free registration process due to their parents’ inability to pay the levy. The situation prompted concerns about the students’ academic prospects.
In a fortunate turn of events over the weekend, WAEC extended the registration deadline to February 24, providing a temporary reprieve for affected students. This extension offers a crucial opportunity for parents to address financial constraints and ensure their children’s participation in the upcoming examinations.
Economic challenges in the country have exacerbated the difficulties faced by some parents in meeting the levy requirements. A parent from Igbo Owu Senior Secondary School in Mushin shared the struggles of being a petty trader in the current economic climate, emphasizing that not all parents can afford the levy.
The concerned parent stated, “We appreciate the state government for helping parents pay the exam fee, but they should know that not all parents work in the formal sector where they can get a tax clearance certificate to show.”
In response to inquiries, the Commissioner for Secondary and Basic Education, Hon Jamiu Alli-Balogun, defended the state government’s commitment to easing the financial burden on parents by covering the exam fees. He encouraged commendation for the government’s efforts in supporting education, acknowledging the challenges faced by parents in varying economic sectors.