By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
The Ogun State chapter of the National Association of Nigerian Students, (NANS) has called for the reintroduction of the Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) levy in public primary and secondary schools in the state to ease the financial burden on the state government.
The call was contained in a statement signed by Comrade Damilola Simeon Kehinde and Comrade Olúfẹ́mi Owóẹ̀yẹ, the President and Public Relations Officer respectively of the Joint Campus Ogun Axis.
It would be recalled that the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun had ordered the suspension of the levy and other fees being paid by pupils of public primary and secondary schools in the state and reintroduced the payment of running costs to public schools.
While commending the governor’s gesture, the students’ body stressed the need for the government to review its decision in view of the present economic realities.
It argued that the suspension of the PTA levy would put more strain on government finances, especially in the face of dwindling revenue.
The statement read, “there has been a considerable diminishing of the economic climate in South Western Nigeria and particularly Ogun State thus making it unconducive for provision of free and qualitative education but cancellation of fees alone is not commensurate to free education”.
“In essence, we’re against the ban placed on the payment of dues being likened to free education in our schools”.
“What happened to providing free educational materials, security for staff and students, conducive environment and other indispensable facilities? What we’re seeing is the proscription of payments and nothing more”.
“In Ogun State, our school administrators are battling with unpaid five months running costs by government. This explains the inability of some schools to provide the most basic of teaching aids”.
“The readily available and effective means to offset some of these issues without turning to government coffers is the reintroduction of a regulated Parent-Teachers Association dues. What more, even our parents are willing to pay as they deem it as their contributions to their ward/child’s education”.
“We urge the government to summarily lift the ban on the payment of Parent-Teachers Association (PTA) dues as it is traditionally a voluntary contribution of parents to offset some financial expenses on behalf of the school”.
“This is where schools get money to pay for security, cutting of bushes, minor structural damages like leaking roofs, among others”.
“The economic realities succinctly portends that the government cannot exclusively cater for the academic sector”.
“Rather than impoverish these schools, the government through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board should immediately permit the reintroduction of a regulated Parent-Teachers Association dues. This will instantly bring a remarkable difference to our schools”.