By Muhammad Aminu & Uzair Adam Imam
Kano State students from public secondary schools may not write the 2022 Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) due to the failure of the Kano State Government to settle outstanding debt of N1.5bn to the National Examination Council (NECO).
Sources familiar with the matter in the Kano Ministry of Education and NECO office confirmed to The Daily Reality.
The examination body has been in touch with the Kano State Government for the settlement of the debt, but the feedback remained negative.
At least 15000 students from Kano State public secondary schools are expected to sit for the examination, whose fees are paid by the Kano State Government.
Insiders in the NECO Office said that due to the indebtedness, which affects logistics and other obligations, it is less likely for the exam to commence tomorrow, June 27, as scheduled nationwide.
Earlier, Permanent Secretary Kano State Ministry of Education, Hajia Lauratu Ado, told Solacebase that the state government is already discussing with NECO.
Hajia Lauratu said the state government had paid NECO N356m last week. Still, the examination body insisted that N700m must be paid before the state students would be allowed to write the examination.
“We are surprised with the stand of NECO because apart from the payment of N356m, the state government also wrote a commitment letter to the body stating that N50m would be released to the examination body monthly.
“The examination body did not inform us that it did not accept our commitment and the payment of the N356m not until yesterday. Since then, we have been in discussion with NECO so as to address the issue,” quoting the Permanent Secretary.
Hajia Lauratu said the state government is committed to releasing another N300m to enable Kano students to participate in the examination, but the NECO’s portal was not available as at Sunday evening.
NECO’s Public Relations Officer, Azeez Sani, said he is unaware of the development between NECO and Kano State Government.
Meanwhile, parents and teachers lament the lackadaisical attitude with which Kano State Government is handling the education sector in the state.
“Look, I paid the fees for my children and I was told they may not be allowed to write the examination starting tomorrow due to the government owing NECO, how is that my problem?
“As I speak with you, my children are disturbed about the situation,” said a parent.
A secondary teacher who spoke in confidence to The Daily Reality said: “The development is very traumatic. The Kano State Government has failed both teachers and students, let alone parents.
“Government shouldn’t have allowed this to happen. The debt of about N1.5bn should be paid, so our students do not miss this year’s exams.”
It can be recalled that NECO withheld the 2021 results for Kano students due to the outstanding debt the state owed the Council.
Similarly, in 2022, Kano State Government drew public outcry for declining to pay NECO fees for students that failed the Qualifying Examination.