Several parents at the Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba, have expressed displeasure over the alleged imposition of a N50,000 fee payable by the students for a proposed hostel project in the institution.
According to the parents, the fee was agreed upon at a Parents Teachers Association meeting during which many of them were absent.
”I am a parent in the school, I was not invited to any PTA meeting where such a decision was taken,” said Okechukwu Nwanguma, one of the aggrieved parents.
”I understand that parents who were present at the meeting protested.”
The school’s 2019/2020 academic calendar begins on September 15.
The parents said they were preparing for the fees of the upcoming session only to be confronted with the new levy.
The fee is expected to be paid by all the parents before their wards are admitted for the session.
“I have my children in that school and after getting home for the long holidays, they came back with the information that they were told to pay ₦50, 000 when they resume,” said Chigozie Otuonye, who has two children in the school.
”It was actually decided at a PTA meeting. I was not in that meeting, although my wife got a message for the meeting.”
When a PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter visited the school on Tuesday, some parents were seen at the school’s PTA building.
A parent, who preferred not to be named, said the school expects all the students to pay.
“I just paid some part of the money, I’m here to submit the receipt. There is nothing we can do about it, they said every parent must pay.”
Another couple, who came to the PTA building to get the account details where the money would be paid, said they were not aware of the meeting where the fee was agreed on.
“They called another meeting two weeks ago. That was where they agreed that parents can pay in installments, especially because many people reacted that they don’t have the money to pay. It was agreed that we can ₦20,000 in first term and ₦15, 000 in the second and third term,” they said.
Another parent, who also did not want to be named said “it is not parents that should build a new hostel for the school”.
”Imagine those of us that have children in SS3. Even after building the hostel, not all students will get accommodation to stay in it, so why impose the fee on us?
“The money is too much and getting accommodation in this school is hard. It is who you know, you know. In fact, you have to pay about ₦100,000 before you get the accommodation,” the woman added, explaining how much parents ‘lobby’ for accommodation for their wards.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that accommodation fee currently charged at the college is ₦15,000 per term.
Olisa Anene, the PTA chairman in the school, said the fee was not imposed on the parents.
“It is impossible for one man to impose a fee on about 5,000 parents, there is a committee in charge of the project,” he said.
There are 104 Unity Schools spread across the country.
In August 2016, the Federal Ministry of Education said no PTA of any federal college is expected to initiate any project without the authorisation of the Federal Ministry of Education.
As contained in the statement, development levy by PTAs of unity colleges for new projects was pegged to “a maximum amount of ₦5,000.”
The reduction was part of “the new measures aimed at arresting the shocking trend where development levies imposed on parents by PTAs are becoming higher than the school fees charged by the government which established the Unity schools.
It is unclear why the PTA of FSTC, Yaba, have demanded ₦50,000 for a hostel project despite the government’s directive.
When PREMIUM TIMES spoke with Bem Goong, the Deputy Director (Press and Public Relations), Ministry of Education, about the imposed levy at FSTC, Yaba, he said the earlier directive remains the official position of the ministry.
“There should be no PTA project beyond the ₦5,000 PTA levy across the country. The federal ministry is maintaining the same position.”
Mr Goong said the ministry would investigate the issue.