Paul Obi in Abuja

The federal government on Tuesday banned the collection of development levies by Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA) in all Federal Government Colleges and Unity Schools in the country.

In a statement signed by the Deputy Director of Press in the Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, the government said the ban had become imperative given that some PTA levies now surpass schools fees.

Goong said: “Moved by the plight of the generality of parents of students in Federal Government Colleges, the Federal Ministry of Education has banned the collection of development levies by the PTA in the Unity Colleges across the country in order to alleviate the sufferings of parents. The ban is with immediate effect.

“Similarly, no PTA of any Unity College is allowed to initiate any development project in any of the Unity Colleges without the express or written authorisation of the Federal Ministry of Education.”

He explained that “the new measures are aimed at arresting the shocking trend where development levies imposed on parents by PTAs are becoming higher than the school fees charged by government which established the Unity Schools.”

Goong cited examples of “PTA collections which have become higher than school fees charged by the government, the Minister gave the examples of Kings College Lagos, and Federal Science and Technical College Yaba where the fees charged by government for JSS1 in the first term is N69,400, while the PTA collections stand at N70,000 and N74,000 respectively per child for the same first term.

“This brings the total paid by parents in these two schools to N139,400 and N143,400 respectively. With the reduction on development levies and ban on charges for new projects as well as pegging of the development levy to a maximum of N5,000, parents of JSS1 in these two schools will now pay N88,000.”

While acknowledging the complementary roles played by parents and the support provided by the PTA to the Colleges, the Education Minister said he would not allow the PTAs to constitute themselves into a Government within a Government at the level of Unity schools and at the expense of parents.

He stated that government views “with grave concern the activities of PTAs in Unity Colleges – which have even formed themselves into national associations, instead of limiting themselves to the schools where their children attend.

“This is intended to transfer payments from parents directly to the colleges rather than routing them through the PTA, thereby reducing the increasing over-dependence on PTA and the attendant interference in the management of the colleges. The exorbitant PTA charges have made the quest to become PTA Chairmen ‘a do or die affair’ in almost all Unity Colleges.”

While appealing to parents and other stakeholders to accept his sincere efforts, he said the ministry’s policy in the education sector at all levels is aimed at reducing the financial burden on parents in order to increase access to education for all Nigerians.