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Ministry, PTA at war over school fees increment, ban on levies

By Boniface Okoro, Umuahia on

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The National Parents and Teachers Association of Federal Government Colleges (NAPTAFEGC) has faulted the ban on the collection of development levies by Parents-Teachers Association (PTA) in the unity colleges (Federal Government Colleges), saying it would affect development, growth and provision of amenities in these schools.

National President of the association, Sir Gabriel Nnaji, in a reaction to a statement credited to the Federal Ministry of Education, placing an immediate ban of collection of development levies in unity schools, described the ministry’s move as reaction of the association’s protest against the Federal Government’s 300 per cent increment in school fees of unity schools.

Nnaji said the NAPTAFEGC has contributed immensely to the infrastructural development of the schools, citing some examples.

In a statement posted on his facebook account, the NAPTAFEGC President said the association has bought a 250kva sound-proof electric generating set for a unity school.

He listed other projects executed with the PTA levies to include perimeter fencings, construction of two hostel blocks, two classroom blocks, drilling of four water boreholes and stanchions/reticulation and installation of security systems.

Others are construction of four buildings housing 47 new water cisterns toilet facilities, construction of several hundreds of dining tables, construction of partitioned bathing halls, employment and the monthly payment of 65 teaching and non-teaching staff as well as continuous extension of financial support in other areas of need.

He stressed that these projects were fully funded by PTA. “If the Federal Ministry of Education now wants to stop these, because we protested against the current skyrocketed increase in students bills, then so be it.”

The Federal Ministry of Education, last Tuesday banned, with immediate effect, collection of development levies by the PTA in the 104 unity schools.

In a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, endorsed by the Deputy Director, Press at the Ministry, Bem Goong, the Ministry explained that the ban was aimed at alleviating the sufferings of parents.

The statement accused the association of becoming a “government within government” as well as imposing levies higher than school fees.

Part of the statement read: “No PTA of any unity college is allowed to initiate any development project in any of the unity colleges without the express or written authorisation of the Federal Ministry of Education.

“The new measures are aimed at arresting the shocking trend where development levies imposed on parents by PTAs are becoming higher than the school fees charged by government which established the unity schools,” the ministry said.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the statement added, has noted excessive PTA levies in Kings College, Lagos, and Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba, Lagos, pointing out that in the two schools, fees charged for JSS1 in the first term was N69,400 while the PTA collection was N70,000 at Kings College and N74,000 at Yaba.

“This brings the total paid by parents in these two schools to N139,400 and N143,400 respectively.

 “With the reduction on development levies and ban on charges for new projects as well as pegging of the development levy to a maximum of N5,000, parents of JSS1 in these two schools will now pay N88,000,” the statement read.

“I acknowledge the complementary roles played by parents and the support provided by the PTA to the colleges but I will not allow the PTAs to constitute themselves into a government within a government at the level of unity schools and at the expense of parents,’’ the statement quoted Adamu as saying.

It said that Adamu expressed concern that PTAs in unity colleges have formed themselves into national associations and said that running additional organisations, such as the PTA, increased the burden on parents.

The ministry’s statement is coming on the heels of a protest by NAPTAFEGC which rejected an alleged 300 per cent increase in school fees of unity schools. Nnaji had told newsmen that the alleged increase from N20,000 to N75,000, was unacceptable to parents.

However, Adamu on Tuesday denied knowledge of the increment in the school fees, according to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday.

Nnaji, had in a statement he issued in reaction to the alleged fees hike, sent a Save-Our Soul appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to prevail on the Federal Ministry of Education to revert to the former school fees.

Nnaji’s statement read: “The National Association of Parents and Teachers of Federal Government Colleges-NAPTAFEGC a.k.a NAPAFUSS, most humbly and respectfully appeals to President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the National Assembly, to please, use their positions to compel the Federal Ministry of Education to consider the present excruciating socio-economic problems of our country and revert the recent increase of the school fees of the unity colleges, from about N20,000 to about N75,000, to the former fees.

“It should be noted that these fees are even much higher in some urban schools. It should also be appreciated that about 80 percent of parents of federal government colleges are civil servants, whose minimum wage remains at N18,000, and some of them have between one and two or even three children in these colleges. And many of them are presently owed several months of salaries. It will therefore be very impossible for them to cope, financially.

•Photo shows Adamu Adamu.

Source News Express

Posted 11/08/2016 04:57:49 AM

 

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