The governor of Ogun state, Dapo Abiodun, seems to have bowed to pressure and to the public protest ordering the suspension of the controversial “donation” of N3,700 presented by the Parent / Teacher Association (PTA) for the payment of students throughout the Public high schools and technical institutes.
Latest Nigeria News reported on September 4th that the students of public secondary schools and state technical colleges of Ogun must pay the sum of N3.700 per period, indicating a total of N11.100 for the academic session 2019/2020; contrary to the promise of Abiodun’s campaign to free education in Ogun public schools.
Abiodun admitted on Friday that the tax denies the principle of free education, which his administration promised to give to the people; adding that “it is like collecting school fees from the back door”
The governor revealed the suspension of the tariff during an educational summit organized by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to bring together stakeholders in the education sector, held at the Cultural Center, Kuto in Abeokuta.
Abiodun reported that the previous administration had adopted the tax which was described as a “donation” by the parents because it was a mutual agreement between the government and parents.
It should be remembered that the state government in a circular with the reference number EDU. 655/5 of August 27, 2019 issued that students will pay N3.700 per period as PTA rate.
However, Abiodun stated that the payment of fees would be suspended until his education team could make a recommendation.
His words, “I have been criticised in the media because of the fee. I did not introduce the N3,700 PTA levy. This fee predates this administration and our understanding is that the previous administration adopted it because it was a proposal that was accepted by parents and teachers.
“But, the truth is that as acceptable as it would have been; it kind of negates the principle of free education.
“We cannot be double speaking; we cannot be saying one thing and be doing something else. We must be seen as an administration that is accountable to the people just like our promises.
“I told my team to look critically into this issue and they brought it to me and I saw insurance, cap and others.
“I have told them to go and look at how we can make this work without having to charge anybody.
“The first step is to restore the running cost so that it does not look as if we are taking that and they will not have anything to run the schools. The running cost has been restored pending the time we look into the issue and find a lasting solution to it.
“N3,700 has been suspended for now until the committee comes up with recommendations”.
The governor, however, appealed to the people to be patient with him, saying he is still new in the system.
Meanwhile, parents have lauded Gov Abiodun for listening to their voices by suspending the levy to uphold his free education campaign promise.