The National Parents and Teachers Association of the Federal Government Colleges has protested against the increase in the school fees of unity schools by the Federal Government, describing it as “commercialisation of education.”
The organisation warned that the new fees, if not reversed, would force parents to withdraw their children from the unity colleges.
The association in a communiqué read to journalists by its National President, Dr. Gabriel Nnaji, at the end of its National Executive Council meeting, said the increment from N20,000 to N75,000 was untimely and insensitive by the government.
According to him, the fee was increased on June 1 by the government.
The communiqué partly read, “The increase of school fees from about N20,000 to about N75,000 in unity colleges is most untimely and insensitive. An average Nigerian worker whose minimum wage is N18,000 and who has one or two children in the unity colleges will be unable to keep his or her child or children in the unity colleges.
“The recent increase is a negation of the policy or principle that established unity colleges which is to make basic and secondary education affordable and accessible to an average Nigerian student.”
The association therefore appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the members of the National Assembly to compel the Federal Ministry of Education to revert to the old fee regime “as the education of Nigerian children is a right and not a privilege.”
“The association will continue to partner the Federal Ministry of Education by complementing the efforts of the ministry in the provision of basic facilities in the unity colleges,” Nnaji said.
According to him, while NAPTAFEGC appreciated the Federal Ministry of Education in making the payment of insurance levy in the unity colleges optional, the association frowns on any attempt to commercialise or make the cost of training Nigerian children in the unity colleges beyond the rich of an average Nigerian parent.
He said, “Enough budgetary provision should be adequately made and very timely released to the unity colleges to enable students to continue to compete very favourably with students of other academically sound private colleges.
“The issue of security in unity colleges must be given the deserved attention and commitment all the time. Students who have paid for books should always be made to receive them in good time and not when they are no longer needed.”