The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun seems to have bowed to pressure and public outcry as he ordered the suspension of the controversial N3,700 ‘donation’ reportedly introduced by the Parents/Teachers’ Association (PTA) for payment by pupils in all the State’s public secondary schools and technical colleges.
According to reports, on September 4 reported that pupils in Ogun State public secondary schools and technical colleges are to pay the sum of N3,700 per term, indicating a total of N11,100 for the 2019/2020 academic session; contrary to Abiodun’s campaign promise to make education free in public schools in Ogun.
Abiodun on Friday admitted that the fee negates the principle of free education, which his administration promised to give to the people; adding that, “it’s like collecting school fee through the backdoor. ”
The governor disclosed the suspension of the fee during an education summit organised by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to bring stakeholders in the education sector together, held at Cultural centre, Kuto in Abeokuta.
Abiodun informed that the levy which was described as a ‘donation’ from the parent was adopted by the previous administration because it was a mutual agreement between the government and the parents.
It would be recalled that the state government in a circular with reference number EDU. 655/5 dated 27th August, 2019 had issued that the pupils will be paying N3,700 per term as PTA’s fee.
Abiodun, however, said the payment of the levy would be suspended until his education team was able to come up with 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.dpa