It remains to be seen whether much burdened parents of the Federal Science and Technical College (FSTC), Yaba, will eventually come round to accept the latest levy of N50,000 as something they can chew.
As students resumed last week Sunday, many parents were still lamenting the N50,000 imposed by the school’s Parent Teachers Association (PTA) for a hostel project.
They wondered why they had to made to construct buildings in a school owned by the Federal Government.
The N50,000 fee is in addition to the N5,000 PTA levy approved by the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja for Unity Schools across the country because of past complaints about the money parents were forced to pay in the name of PTA.
A few days to the resumption, some parents cried out that their wards would not be allowed to resume if the special hostel levy, which was called a donation in the last term’s PTA newsletter, was not paid.
However, on Sunday, The Legend observed that the pupils were allowed into the school once they showed evidence of part payment of the levy.
Some parents who refused to give their full names, expressed their grouse on the issue.
A father, who simply called himself Mr Victor, said this would be the second hostel parents would be building for the school.
“There is nothing we will not see in this country. It is only in Nigeria that a civil servant would be constructing a building for a Federal Government school. Are you aware we built the previous hostel just right there? I paid N10,000. Let us see how it goes but I know I will not pay the total amount”, he said.
Another parent, Mr Maxwell said he had paid half of the bill for his two children who are pupils of the school.
“I had to pay N50,000 for two of my children. What do you want me to do? I don’t want them to stay at home, but on getting here I heard Federal Government has reacted and it has been suspended, I hope they refund the money to the set of parents like me that has already paid”, he said.
Another parent a mother who refused to give her name, said “It is a normal thing, they also did the same thing in King’s College. I have two of my kids there. We were asked to contribute money to build a hostel which we did so it is okay.”
However, not all parents paid money for heir wards that day. A fahter said his son was allowed in without paying anything.
He said: “Well I did not pay and they have checked my son in. I don’t think they would want to create a scene,” he said.
A parent, Mr Chuks, who paid just N5,000, said he was not at the July 27 meeting where parents were said to have agreed to pay for the project.
“I paid N5,000 and they allowed my daughter in. So, probably, next session again I will pay another N5,000. The country is hard and besides all fingers are not equal. I was not even at the meeting when the decision was made. But then what can I say? I will like to call on the Federal Government to look into this situation because everyday on the news we hear of millions and billions being pumped into the education sector but look at the crisis we have here at FSTC,” he said.
The decision to pay N50,000 per pupil at the July 27 PTA meeting was documented in a newsletter sent home with the pupils as they vacated last session.
The newsletter signed by Mr Olisaeloka Anene noted that the PTA had sought approval from the FME to embark on the project. It also noted that parents could spread the payment of the N50,000 donation over three terms.
It reads: “At the PTA general meeting held Saturday, July 27, 2019, parents unanimously agreed to embark on a hostel project. The committee of professionals which was set up during the last meeting gave their reports. They have generated complete building plan and have paid a visit to the Permanent Secretary, FME to discuss with him about the project. The Permanent Secretary told the parents that if they agree to support a hostel project that he will not stop us. according to the committee chairman, the Permanent Secretary requested we send him a complete drawing of the building with the bill of quantity for their records.
The crux of the matter, really, is the integrity in the decision to involve already overstretched parents in the funding of the hostel project.