The federal government has proscribed the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of the Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Benin, Edo State indefinitely for acts bordering on gross misconduct, lawlessness and outright usurpation of Federal Government powers.
The proscription takes immediate effect, Deputy Director (Press) in the Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong, said in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.
The statement reads: “Government has also directed all principals and administrators of Federal Unity Colleges not to have anything whatsoever to do with the National Association of Parent Teachers Associations of Federal Government Colleges (NAPTAFGC), an umbrella body of PTA of Unity Colleges describing the National body which has no other source of funding other than taxing parents, as superfluous, illegal, and an unnecessary financial burden on parents of students in Federal Unity Colleges across the country
“Giving reasons for the indefinite proscription of the PTA of Federal Government Girls College, Benin today in his office in Abuja, Education Minister Malam Adamu Adamu said the PTA in question had, prior to the resumption of schools for the 2016/2017 academic session generated its own school fees different from the fees approved by the Federal Government and circulated same to Parents of students of FGGC Benin, with an instruction that the parents should pay only what had been approved by the PTA.
“Not only did Benin PTA generate rival bills to that of Government, the Association also physically mobilized parents on the day of resumption and disrupted activities while insisting on the use of their own bills.
“Deploring the actions of the Benin PTA, the Minister said no responsible Government will tolerate that level of lawlessness and acts of brigandage, adding that he will never allow a “Government within a Government” in the Unity Schools.
On the issue of NAPTAFGC, the Minister said, the illegal body had surreptitiously and clandestinely organized and promoted mass protests in some Unity Schools on resumption day over what it called a 300% increase in school fees of Unity Colleges..
“Restating his position, the Minister said school fees had not been increased, but had been realigned and harmonised by removing fees payable to PTA and transferring a fraction of it to the colleges in view of the increased cost of living and the need to adequately care for the students.
“Explaining further the Minister said the realignment and harmonization ensured that PTA development levies which ranged from (N2,500 – N75,000) depending on the school were out rightly cancelled, while seven Thousand Naira (N7,000) was added to boarding fees to enhance the feeding of students.
“In its mischievous propaganda, the Minister said, NAPTAFGC does not talk about seven thousand (N7,000), knowing that it will be ridiculous to do so, adding that NAPTAFGC therefore talks about 300% increase, to give a false impression of an astronomical increase and high sounding figures.
“Explaining further, the Minister said contrary to the impression created that parents are withdrawing their wards from FGCs, the Ministry has had the greatest pressure of request for admission into Unity Schools, this year, a clear indication that Unity Schools are still the preferred destinations.
“Despite our ageing infrastructure, we can still boast of an impressive array of highly qualified teachers whose efforts are hardly publicized. “This propaganda must stop” the Minister said.
“On the organized protests, the Honourable Minister has reiterated that under no circumstance would he allow Federal Government Unity Schools to be used as platforms by a few persons under whatever umbrella, including NAFTATFGC, to exploit the generality of parents.
“On the administration of Unity Schools, the Minister charged principals to make judicious use of the little income from fees and Government subventions so as to close whatever gaps that may be created by the cancellation of development levies, adding that all on-going development projects undertaken by PTA’s should be compiled and forwarded to the Ministry for inclusion into the 2017 budget. The Ministry will pay close attention to the Management of Unity Schools to ensure prudent management of finances in line with the economic realities in the country, – Adamu Adamu added.”