Government sacks PTA officials from unity colleges
This is as the umbrella body of the group: Parent- Teacher Association of Federal Government Colleges in the South West, has faulted the Federal Government’s cancellation of PTA development levy, saying this would lead to laying off of about 1,000 teaching and non-teaching staff it employed to make up for shortage of staff in the schools.
According to Deputy Director, Press, at the Federal Ministry of Education, Bem Goong, in some of these colleges, PTA had well-established offices, which they ran with the full compliment of administrative/operational staff members. This development he said, created an atmosphere where they (PTA) sort of operated like a parallel government in some of these schools, and in some worse case scenarios, pitted themselves frontally against the school principals and their assigned.
He added that from the pool of levies collected from the students, the PTA in some of these schools administered millions of naira, and some principals had to go cap in hand begging them for funds to carry out certain projects in the schools.
Goong stressed, “We are not disbanding PTA or saying no to their activities. All we are saying is no to institutionalizing PTA in federal government colleges. They should not go and establish offices in schools and run like a government within a government. Instead, they should operate like boards of government parastatals and only go there, have their meetings in spaces provided for them by the school, carry out their discussions and thereafter handover whatever they have arrived at to the chief executives.”
However, rising from an emergency meeting in Ibadan, the association appealed to the government to rescind its decision citing the meritorious efforts it has been making over the years, to sustain the engagement of teachers and improve on the performance of their students at the just concluded West African School Certificate Examination (WAEC).
The group at the meeting presided over by its zonal coordinator, Adebayo Olayide, and secretary, Ahmed Olutope, urged the government to have a rethink, saying the directive would be counter-productive and antithetical to the enviable standard of the schools if implemented.
“We do not support the recent increase in the school fees of unity schools as this will be at variance with the free education policy of the Federal Government. We are disturbed at the discordant tunes and utterances emanating from Federal Ministry of Education’s top hierarchy on the purported hike in school fees of unity schools.’
They explained that the money collected as PTA levy was used to engage and pay staff, both teaching and non-teaching, in addition to providing scholarships for indigent students.“The levy is also used as intervention in the repair and replacement of existing infrastructural facilities.”
While appealing to the Minister of Education to have a “rethink on his position” with regards to the PTA development levy, the association warned that government’s insistence on this position would have adverse and debilitating effects on the voluntary and communal developmental efforts going on in the colleges in areas of academic performance and poor infrastructural development.
“We hereby state in clear terms than if the Minister of Education does not rescind its directive on the PTA development levy, the PTAs may be constrained to dispense with the PTAs staff on her payroll, stop ongoing PTA projects and provision of essential voluntary services valued at N1.5 billion as the PTA would not have the capacity to continue with those activities.”
Besides, the association added that about 500 students are benefiting from the PTA welfare scheme.“Apart from the fact that the development levy is unanimously agreed upon by the PTA congress of each of the unity schools in the South West Zone; prompted by a letter of request from the school authority for PTA’s assistance and justifying the need for the required facility; development projects in the schools across the zone are largely credited to this fee.”