The new e-fees payment method for unity schools in which students were required to generate a Remita Reference (RR) online before using it to complete the payment, was said to be full of twists and turns.
Students have started reporting to schools for the second term on Saturday but thousands of students were reportedly stranded because they could not pay school fees due to system failure.
Parents in Plateau State have attributed challenges with the new e-platform to last minute rush.
Isa Abdullahi whose son attended Federal Government College, Jos said parents who paid their children’s school fees in December faced little or no challenge with the e-payments, usually done on a single multi-bank platform.
Abdullahi said “usually the remita reference for the payment is generated at internet café before taking it to the bank. However, for FGC Jos, we were able to generate it from the school’s computer centre and then we took it to the bank. Right now, most banks are having challenges accessing the remita platform which I believe is due to congestion.”
He, however, said with the boarding students returning to school yesterday (Sunday), parents would be ready to plead with the school management to let students who were unable to complete their registration due to network challenges.
Our correspondent who also spoke to Mr. Joseph Iwu whose daughter was in FGGC Langtang, learned that he paid his daughter’s fees earlier seamlessly. “A number of parents have told me that the banks are facing network challenges right now but I believe it is due to the rush. I paid my daughter’s fees without challenge a day after the New Year.”
In Benue State, parents have decried the untold hardship they faced with e-payment at banks occasioned by poor internet access.
Our correspondent who spoke to some parents said that many of them have yet to make the necessary payment and as such their children could not return to school.
Mrs. Grace Alfa was, however, lucky to have paid her daughter’s fees on Thursday after visiting many banks earlier without positive result.
Alfa’s daughter, an SSS1 student of Federal Government College, Gboko, returned to school on Sunday while her mates who faced problems with banks remained at home.
“There had been a problem with internet connection and banks can’t access our accounts. Even after I raised the remita reference from the cybercafé and got to the bank, there was no network. I also tried making the payment by bank draft and that too didn’t work out. I went to several banks without luck until on Thursday when I had to queue at one bank before I got my payment done,” Alfa narrated.
But, Mr. Attah Ede said his son who attended Federal Technical College, Otukpo could not return to school on Sunday because his fees were not paid due to major problems with the new method.
“My son is still at home because he hasn’t been able to make payment of his fees at the bank due to a network problem. Many other children who were expected to have returned to school yesterday are also still at home as a result of the same problem.
“This e-payment hasn’t helped us at all. Each time, it occurs like this, the children would remain at home until we (parent) are able to sort out the bank issue because the school will not admit them back,” Ede said.
Some students in Kwara state were who could not pay their fees were said to have been asked to return home, a source said but an official with FGC Ilorin denied sending any students home over e-payment.
Mr. Likita Gimba said his son; Samuel was an SSS 2 student at Federal Government College, Orozo, Abuja.
“I didn’t face any challenge because I followed the instructions given to me. Once you follow the instruction you won’t have any problem,” he said.
He said he paid N25,500as fees adding that students also paid N5,000 as PTA levy.
Another Parent, Malam Aminu Isyaku said he couldn’t pay his child’s fees because internet hitches at banks.
He paid N25,000 as fees for his son, Sani who was in SSS1 at FGC Orozo.
“I faced network challenge. I have been trying to log in but the portal was not responding. It was after several attempts I was able to log in.”
He said the portal was too slow and overloaded due to the number of people trying to log in.
He called on the government to improve the network services to enable students to have access to the portal and pay their school fees.
Due to the economic situation of the country, many students in Kaduna State are resuming school today without paying their fees.
Daily Trust reporter who interviewed some parents in the state gathered that a lot of expenses were made for the Christmas and new year celebrations coupled with the fuel scarcity experienced during the season, which made prices of almost every item and cost of transportation to rise.
A parent, Hajiya Hadiza said the private school where her children attend allow that they pay at least 50percent of school fee before resumption. “Although, those who cannot afford to pay the 50 percent might still be allowed to resume school because it is not easy to raise even the 50 percent of the school fee,” she said.
Mr. Nathaniel Joseph said his three children are resuming school tomorrow (today) without their school fees.
“My inability to raise their school fees now will not stop them from resuming. Since they are not new students in the school, they would be allowed and latest by January end, I will pay up the fee,” he lamented.
Mrs. Bukola Akande on her own part said she was able to pay the school fee of only one of her three children before resumption, saying, the other two will resume and have their fee paid by end of January or February. “The schools too should understand that things are not easy,” she stressed.