The governor of the state of Ogun, Dapo Abiodun, seems to have bowed to pressure and public protest by ordering the suspension of the controversial ‘donation’ of N3,700 presented by the Parent / Teacher Association (PTA) for the payment of students throughout the state. Public high schools and technical colleges.
Latest Nigeria newspaper report that that students from public secondary schools and state technical colleges in Ogun must pay the sum of N3,700 per period, indicating a total of N11,100 for the 2019/2020 academic session; contrary to the promise of Abiodun’s campaign to make education free in public schools in Ogun.
Abiodun admitted Friday that the fee denies the principle of free education, which his administration promised to give the people; adding that “it is like collecting school fees through the back door.”
The governor revealed the suspension of the rate 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 adopted the tax that was described as a “donation” from the parents because it was a mutual agreement between the government and the parents.
It should be remembered that the state government in a circular with EDU reference number. 655/5 dated August 27, 2019, issued that students will pay N3,700 per period as a PTA rate. However, Abiodun said that the tax payment would be suspended until his education team could make a recommendation.
His words: “I have been criticized in the media for the cost. I did not introduce the N3,700 PTA tax. This rate is before this administration, and we understand 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; somehow denies the principle of free education. We cannot speak twice; We cannot be saying one thing and doing something else. We must be seen as an administration that is accountable to people as well as our promises.
“I told my team to analyze this problem critically, and they brought it to me, and I saw insurance, capitalization, and others. I told them to go see how we can make this work without having to charge anyone.
“The first step is to restore the cost of operation so that it does not appear that we are taking it and will have nothing to manage the schools. The cost of service has been restored until we analyze the problem and find a lasting solution. N3,700 has been suspended for now until the committee makes recommendations.”
Latest Nigeria newspaper report that the governor also appealed to the people to be patient with him, saying he is still new to the system. Meanwhile, parents have praised Governor Abiodun for hearing their voices by suspending the tax to keep their free education campaign promise.