Enugu state education agencies demand bribes to recommend books to students – The Whistler Newspaper
Mr. Chinedu Uroko is among more than 2,000 authors/publishers who have submitted books to the Enugu State Education Resource Centre, a branch of the state Ministry of Education, for exams and possible recommendations for state high school students in 2021.
The books are revised every three years, and secondary schools are supposed to be free to choose from those recommended for their respective students.
Ms. Nwanneka Onah, Permanent Secretary of the State Department of Education, in a 2021 circular, directed authors/publishers who want their books to be reviewed to pay a variable fee to the account of the state government .
The breakdown shows that a title costs N15,000; two securities, N25,000; three to five titles, N40,000; six to ten titles, N60,000; eleven to fifteen securities, N80,000; sixteen to twenty securities, N100,000; and twenty-one securities, N120,000.
According to the circular, “six copies of each title will be submitted with an application to the office of the Educational Resource Center, French Centre, Enugu.”
It said: “For individual authors: “Submission of six copies of each title/manual must be accompanied by a payment bank teller and three clear photocopies thereof paid to any commercial bank (microfinance bank not accepted ) with account name: Enugu State IGR Account (at the top of your deposit slip write “EDC Book Review Fee”). No refunds of fees or textbooks after payment or submission…”
A book of approved texts published by the state Department of Education, titled “Department of Education: Approved Textbooks for Upper Basic, Upper Secondary and Science, Technical School Year and professional 2021 – 2024”, contains approximately 2,210 book titles, covering all subjects.
Chinedu said that when he went to the center to get a copy of the book with the approved list, a staff member at the center told him that a foundation was looking for him to help market his books. He was then given a number to call.
He said, “I called the number. The receiver identified himself as an attorney and that his foundation is licensed by the state post-primary school management board, PPSMB, to market books from the approved list. “We found yours worthy, and that’s why we were looking for your number,” he told her.
At the end of their discussions, he provided a First Bank account number 308279106, account name Anikem Nnabuenyi, to pay N5,000 to improve marketing (transaction receipt attached). “Until today,” Chinedu said, “nothing has happened. The lawyer keeps saying the process is ongoing.
The managing director of Ugo Books, who did not want his name mentioned, told our correspondent that the lawyer liked to extort funds from unsuspecting authors and publishers in the name of government support for State.
He said: “It is very controversial. I know the little man. Please don’t be a victim. The worst is his connivance with the actors of national education.
One author whose book was endorsed said, “I don’t want to be mentioned because I paid the lawyer last year. I know of three publishers who also paid for it. Nothing has happened to me in terms of marketing my books. But I remain optimistic because he continues to promise. He speaks confidently, but I’ve never met him. I got his number one from the workers. He said he was working with the governor of the state, the Department of Education, etc. So I remain hopeful. »
The Foundation confirms collaborations with state agencies
Our correspondent met the founder of the foundation during a secret visit. He was told that a certain Makurdi-based publishing house would like his services, and he opened up. He confirmed his name as Barr Abel Nnabuenyi Anikem and Founder of Anikem Reading and Writing Foundation.
“Do you have my PPSMB number?” was his first question. Our correspondent said, “No, from the Education Resource Center.
He declared to our correspondent: “I have just answered a call from a Doc, member of the board of directors of our foundation, Anikem Reading and Writing Foundation. We have a meeting with the president of the PPSMB because we waited for the president to be appointed by the governor for the council to be established; whose governor appointed the president in June of this year.
“The letter for the courtesy visit was sent yesterday to the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Our foundation will pay him a courtesy visit on the book partnership. Call me by the end of this month (August) as we do this in conjunction with PPSMB. The foundation is in partnership with PPSMB. By the end of this month (August), anyone whose own will be used, we will send a message to the person. Keep calling me so I can do my best to get one or more of your books listed.
Regarding financial obligations to get books registered for recommendations by his foundation, Anikem said, “Individual authors register with our foundation with N5,000 each, but publishers register with N10,000 each. That’s how we did it at the beginning of this year and last year. Once you register with the foundation, it’s not even if the books are correct (sic), you start marketing the books to schools. Your books absolutely must be there.
“How we do it is that the ones we use this term are not the ones we use the next term. Assuming your book is one of my books, and we use it this first term, you need to print more than 15,000 or 20,000 copies in order to go around all the private and public schools in Enugu State.Then next term another of your book other than this will come now. In the third trimester, another will now come for final exams.
“After the final exam, we are arranging a thank-you visit for the Governor and Chairman of the Board, PPMSB. We also award scholarships up to university level to deserving students who have achieved extraordinary results in the compulsory promotion examination.
The school principal confirms the influence of the PPSMB
Our reporter, appearing as an author, approached a secondary school principal in the Udi local government area of the state to market one of the approved books at his school. He replied, “You need to get permission from the PPSMB. Whether or not the ministry approves your book is irrelevant. PPSMB gets the books they want and orders the principals to market them. You have to go there to negotiate with them. I know they get their commissions and we directors get ours.
State education authorities deny knowledge of gratuities
State Education Commissioner Professor Uchenna Eze disapproved of the act when our correspondent interviewed him. He said the ministry does not market books for authors and publishers and has not licensed any foundation to do so.
Professor Eze said: ‘That’s not true. Ministry policy is that we review the books every three years. If you enter JSSI, you use these books for three years. The person then moves on to the second cycle of secondary school.
“We don’t revise books for upper secondary. WAEC recommends his books. When the time comes, we call for reviews, and then the books are rated. Those based on the curriculum are approved. Our work ends with the list in book form of all the books that are recommended.
“The ministry does not sell books to anyone. The ministry does not force anyone to buy books. That a book is recommended means that it is useful for the child and that he can buy it. A and B must not have the same book.
“Anyone who comes to tell you that you pay and they will market for you is a private company. But when ministry staff get involved, that’s when I get in trouble because they don’t have the right to do so.The only thing the education resource center does is for Igbo and English literature, which will be used for the exam.
“Among the texts, they can now say that these are for the basic exams. They cannot recommend any books other than Igbo and English literature. It should be based on those that are generally recommended.
Mrs. Favor Ugwuanyi, Chairperson of the Enugu State Post-Primary School Management Board, while reacting to the synergy of the board with Barr Anikem, said, “I don’t know him oooo!
THE WHISTLER reports that Ms Ugwuanyi is the former Permanent Secretary of the Board, a position she held for a few years prior to her current elevation to Chairman of the Board.
One author, Gibson Ugwu, accused the center of bias. In his words, “After paying and submitting books for review, some multinational publishers and authors keep coming back to bribe the officers.
“Other than that, when books are approved by the ERC, it is unethical to submit another book submission and critique it to the ERC. Even if this were to happen, the review should not not be an annual affair.But they have made it an annual affair thus giving rooms for junks to be selected and played in JSS3 classes because they are looking for money.
“Most of the time, the authors and publishers are even obliged to deliver the books to the ERC office, so the workers sell the books to the directors. If we really want to do it right, it’s very simple: a budget must be made public with ministry staff and publishers with authors. Then split the exact amount of money between the book vendors to be rated. At a pre-book review meeting, it should be established that no one, whether you are an author or editor, should be seen on ERC premises or transact with staff prior to the review and review. printing of approved booklets.
“By doing so, everyone – poor and rich alike – in this industry will be treated the same; reviewers will have enough focus to do their job and adapt the books to the age groups they are intended for. No compromise.
“Approved books must be produced for sale in markets or bookstores within the school grounds. Non-teaching staff should be in charge of bookstores. The teachers’ duty is only to check if the books are approved and to make recommendations. Indeed, if you allow teachers to manage book sales in schools, there will be a deviation of spirit or program because their focus will be on awarding grades only to students who have the books to enable them to get their commissions without teaching in detail what they are supposed to.”
– This report was published with the support of Civic Media Lab.