School Resumption: Groanings As Parents, Pupils Scramble To Obtain Ogun Govt 'Letter of Undertaking' - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Friday, January 7, 2022

School Resumption: Groanings As Parents, Pupils Scramble To Obtain Ogun Govt 'Letter of Undertaking'

The Daily Crucible | Friday, January 7, 2022
By Ayobami Ife, Abeokuta

There was palpable chaotic situation around premises of many public secondary schools in  Ogun state on Friday as parents, guardians and pupils scrambled for copies of government printed 'Letter of Undertaking' form ahead of January 10 resumption date for all schools.

The Letter of Undertaking duly signed by parents, guardians and learners was made mandatory by Ogun State government as a condition to be met before any pupil is allowed to resume in public secondary schools in the state.

The measure seeks to curb the evil circus of cultism, cult violence and hooliganism said to have enveloped over a dozen public secondary schools in Ogun State for the better part of last quarter of 2021.

The ugly development compelled the government to shut no fewer than 12 public secondary schools in the state last year to avert further cult - related violence ahead of last December 10 commencement of first term vacation.

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, disclosed at the time that the measures became necessary to stem the tide of students clashes that had rocked some public secondary schools in the state.

The affected schools were asked to proceed on vacation when they concluded  their first term examination on November 30, 2021 while other schools deemed peaceful closed for the term on December 10.

 Prof. Arigbabu noted that the affected 12 schools were considered as flashpoints of unruly behaviour of some their students against either the teachers or their counterparts from neighbouring schools.

 Arigbabu listed the hotspot schools as Egba High School, Asero, Asero High School, Itori Comprehensive High Schoo, Itori, Ofada Community Comprehensive High School, Ofada, Lafenwa High School,Lafenwa, Abeokuta.

Others are Egba Owode Grammar School, Owode, Community Comprehensive High School, Ijoun, Unity High School,Kajola Iboro,Ado-odo Ota and Eyini Comprehensive High School, Iboro

The rest are Government Science & Technical College, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, Lisabi Grammar School, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta and Methodist High School, Arigbajo.

But efforts by parents and pupils to obtain the compulsory letter of undertaking form ahead of Monday resumption date were met with challenges as the document could only be accessed and bought in blackmarket kind of arrangements.

Our reporter sighted parents, guardians and pupils shuffling from one location to another, cursing and lamenting as they search for where to buy the form.

The forms were allegedly hijacked by people suspected to be "touts and agents," selling them to desperate parents, guardians and pupils anxious to obtain copies before time.

A Photocopy of the two - page 'Letter of Undertaken' sells for N150 while a page of the original copy and one photocopy of the letter paired, go for N200. Complete copies of the original letter also go for between N200 and N350 depending on location and bargaining power.

Even with the prohibitive prices, many parents, guardians and pupils were not yet able to see the Letter to buy, a situation that had created an atmosphere of chaos and panic purchase where available.

The Daily Crucible gathered that the observed artificial scarcity followed deliberate hijacking and hoarding of the Letter of Undertaking' form by "touts and agents" said to be acting on behalf of some officials of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in connivance with some school authorities, ostensibly to make financial gains out of the situation.

But a source close to the ministry and who did not want his name mentioned, said "there is no shaddy dealings or anybody trying to exploit or do business with the document," adding that pupils and parents had already being told what to do in order to obtain the form seamlessly.

Also reacting to the alleged scarcity of the form, the Special Adviser to governor Dapo Abiodun on Education, Mrs Ronke Soyombo, said parents and pupils were adviced before hand to go to nearest business centres, where they could get photocopies, adding that they also have option of downloading the document from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology website

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