As the new academic session begins, parents of students of the Federal Science and Technical College, (FSTC), Yaba, Lagos are lamenting the imposition of N50,000 on students by the school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for the construction of a new hostel.
Some aggrieved parents have accused the PTA of insensitivity by not carrying them along and threatened to protest over the N50,000 levy.
According to the FSTC chairman, building committee of the PTA, Dr. Emma Onyenuche, who made the clarification during a briefing recently said, parents were regularly invited to attend PTA meetings, but they hardly attend.
“First of all I will like to state it clear that no parent was compelled to pay the N50,000 hostel levy. Before we had the PTA meeting, parents were sent text messages and news letters to attend, only few did. Usually we reach a unanimous agreement and take decisions based on the number of parents present at the meeting, and still relate the decisions to all those who were absent at the meeting.
“At the last meeting, it was agreed that the levy is not a compulsion. It is a voluntary contribution. The issue of not carrying them along is not the fault of the PTA committee. Parents need to make themselves available in meetings, especially on issues that concerns the welfare of their children.
“The parents who are protesting against the levy, were the same parents who came complaining about the lack of hostel accommodation for their children. Please let it be clear that the hostel levy is not a compulsion,” Onyenuche said.
A parent, Mrs Juliet Chukwudozie, who is also a member of the building committee, explained that some parents who took the decision are now crying foul, “Yes, it is true that parents were asked to pay N50,000 to build a new hostel, but it was never made compulsory. It was some of the parents at the meeting that suggested that any student who fails to pay the hostel levy, should not be allowed into the school premises on resumption.”
She added that some parents, who are instigating the protest were not even at the meeting, they are only following the bandwagon, “I advise parents to verify from an authentic source about the information before carrying out the planned protest. Most of them talking about protest were not even at the meeting.
“My daughter is affected with the lack of hostel accommodation. She has been coming to school from Surulere to Yaba for three years. Likewise other students who were not given accommodation. This is why I appealed to all parents to bear with the situation and corporate with the PTA on the levy, she narrated.
Mr. Temple Mba, member of the PTA disclosed that parents who were willing to pay the hostel levy could also pay in instalment, “The chairman also said parents could pay the hostel levy in bits. So the speculation of imposing the levy on parents should not come up at all.”
Responding to the issue, FSTC Principal, Dr Ogochuku Ufoegbuna, said “The issue of imposition of levy is strictly a PTA affairs. The speculation that students will be locked out of the school premises due non payment of the hostel levy is totally false. No student under my watch will be locked out of school upon resumption. There won’t be any protest of any sort either. If parents do not agree to pay the hostel levy, it should be sorted out at the PTA meeting.
“Projects carried out by PTA is a normal thing. However, before that is done, the Federal Ministry of Education, in Abuja has to give their approval. My job is to convey the plan of the hostel project to the ministry, which I have already done. So, I advise the PTA to hold on with the project until we receive the approval from the ministry,” Dr Ufoegbuna said.