- Parents say new increase of school fees is insensitive
By Emeka Kema
Nigerians and particularly affected parents of the students in the Federal Government’s owned unity schools, whose fees have just been increased from N20,000 to a whopping N70,000, have roundly rejected the hike which they say is very insensitive at this time of economic recession.
National Parent and Teacher Association of Federal Government Colleges (NAPTAFEGC) at the weekend vehemently condemned the increase, in a communiqué by its National President, Dr. Gabriel Nnaji, after its National Executive Council meeting in Abuja, saying the increase was untimely.
He told reporters that the fee was increased on June 1 by the government. According to the communiqué : “ the increase of school fees from about N20,000 to about N75,000 in Unity colleges is most untimely and insensitive. An average Nigerian worker, whose minimum wage is N18,000, and who has one or two children in the Unity colleges, will be unable to keep his or her child or children in the Unity colleges.
“The increase is a negation of the policy or principle that established Unity colleges, which is to make basic and secondary education affordable and accessible to an average pupil. The association appeals to President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the National Assembly to, compel the Federal Ministry of Education to revert to the old bills as the education of children is a right, and not a privilege.
The communiqué said that the new fees, if not reversed, will force parents to withdraw their children from the Unity colleges, and the association will continue to partner with the ministry by complementing its efforts in the provision of basic facilities in the Unity colleges.
Nnaji stated that the association appreciates the ministry in making the payment of insurance levy in the Unity colleges not compulsory, but optional. Nevertheless, the NAPTAFEGC national leader says the association will continue to resist any attempt to commercialize or make the cost of training children in the Unity colleges go beyond the rich of an average parent.
He further stated that, “enough budgetary provision should be made and timely released to the Unity colleges to enable pupils to continue to compete favorably with those of other sound private schools.
“The issue of security in Unity colleges must be given attention and commitment.
“Pupils who have paid for books should always receive them in time,” he charged.