Nigerian Government bans development levies in government colleges

Temitope Mustapha, Abuja

The Federal government has banned the collection of development levies by the Parent Teachers Association in the Unity Colleges across the country in order to alleviate the sufferings of parents.

The government says the ban is with immediate effect.

Similarly, no Parent Teachers Association (PTA) of any Unity College is allowed to initiate any development project in any of the Unity Colleges without the express or written authorisation of the Federal Ministry of Education.

Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu who announced the new measures in his office in Abuja while briefing journalists said the new measures are aimed at arresting the shocking trend where Development levies imposed on parents by PTAs are becoming higher than the school fees charged by Government which established the Unity Schools.

Citing examples of PTA collections which have become higher than school fees charged by Government, the Minister gave the examples of Kings College Lagos, and Federal Science and Technical College Yaba where the fees charged by Government for JSS1 in the first term is N69, 400.00, while the PTA collections stand at N70,000.00 and N74,000 respectively  per child for the same first term.  This brings the total paid by parents in these two schools to N139,400 and N143,400 respectively.  With the reduction on development levies and ban on charges for new projects as well as pegging of the development levy to a maximum of N5,000, parents of JSS1 in these two schools will now pay N88,000.

While acknowledging the complementary roles played by parents and the support provided by the PTA to the Colleges, the Education Minister said he would not allow the PTAs to constitute themselves into a Government within a Government at the level of Unity schools and at the expense of parents.

Malam Adamu Adamu said Government views with grave concern the activities of PTAs in Unity Colleges – which have even formed themselves into National Associations, instead of limiting themselves to the schools where their children attend.

According to the Minister, running additional organizations such as NAPTAFEGC increases the burden on parents who hardly differentiate between Government charges and PTA levies.

Malam Adamu Adamu described the existence of an umbrella body over the PTA as unnecessary, exploitative and unacceptable.

On the realignment of charges payable to schools and PTAs which some media reports have tagged as “increase in school fees” the Minister said there has been no increase in school fees, rather, existing discriminatory charges have now been realigned into a uniform school fees across the Unity Schools, maintaining that most parents will now pay lower than what they had been subjected to in the past.

The realigned fees now stand at N83,000 across all Unity Colleges in the country for new intakes, and a recommended maximum of N5,000 PTA levy, while old students will pay less.

This is intended to transfer payments from parents directly to the Colleges rather than routing them through the PTA thereby reducing the increasing over-dependence on PTA and the attendant interference in the management of the Colleges.  “The exorbitant PTA charges have made the quest to become PTA Chairmen “a do or die affair” in almost all Unity Colleges” the Minister explained.

While appealing to parents and other stakeholders to accept his sincere efforts, the Minister said his policy in the education sector at all levels is aimed at reducing the financial burden on parents in order to increase access to education for all Nigerians.

Malam Adamu Adamu further explained that the ban on Post-UTME, cancellation of second NECO test into Unity Colleges, reduction of PTA levies and the subsequent realignment of fees in Unity Colleges are all aimed at making education affordable as a weapon for breaking the cycle of poverty.