Gov Al-Makura Reintroduces School Fees In Public Schools-PTA chairman

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Rabiu Omaku

  • Pupils pay  N500 For Salary Of Security Personnel

Despite the widely spread campaign on free secondary and primary education by the All Progressives Congress, APC in Nasarawa State under the leadership of Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura. The scheme has since suffered a serious quagmire as the present situation is a called for concerns as hike in education persist in Nasarawa state; some of the setbacks include the hike and reintroduction of school fees by the state Government through proxy payment.

An investigation unraveled that admission letter which was issued to students at the tune of N200 now goes for N500 while PTA levy which was approved at N250 was hiked to the tune of N350 and N500 for the payment of UBE staff and payment of salary of security personnel.

The Nasarawa state chairman of the Parent Teachers’ Association, Ahmed Ebenya has confided in this reporter about the reintroduction of school fees in Government schools in the state. The chairman in a telephone interview buttressed that the reintroduction followed the approval by the Ministry of Education to Government schools having challenges.

NAPTAN chairman said the challenges range from shortage of manpower which he listed to include inadequate teachers and security personnel, He further affirmed that the state Government approved N350 as Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) to all heads of secondary and primary schools in the state.

Ebenya further maintained that only schools with genuine complain and approved by the PTA and state ministry of education has the mandate to collect additional charges pending on the challenges of the affected schools, The state chairman of National Association of Parent Teachers’ Association affirmed that the charges would enable the affected schools to employed PTA teachers, pay security men as well to build additional classrooms.

When asked by our reporter on the N850 charged for PTA, The state chairman of NAPTAN said some schools lacking  classrooms and instructional materials ,saying Government alone would not shoulder education alone, He attested that the state Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura opined that education in the state can’t be free” from charges”.

Inconsistencies in education policy in Nasarawa state can be identified as a nagging issued affecting the sector in the state, Parents has been battling ever since the introduction of free education by the current regime in the state, An investigation gathered by this medium unfolded that before the introduction of free education policy pupils /students seeking new admission pays N200 as against the present N500 paid for admission letter.

The principal of GSS Doma North, one of the affected school when asked about the new charges affirmed that the school is collecting N850,”N350 is for PTA levy while N500 for the payment of security in her school, The introduction of free education by Governor Al-Makura meet stiff opposition by principals whose stock in trade was extorting illegal fees and levies from parents/teachers alike in spite of the pronouncement of free school fees in secondary and primary school.

Expert in the education sector bemoaned the led- APC Government under Governor Al-Makura for the introduction of free education without consultation; they added the free education in Nasarawa state is death before arrival.  According to them the pronouncement was a mere political gimmick to gain support; “There is no level playing field for free education to be a success in the state as a lots need to be done, They listed the daunting challenging to include;

  1. Authentic figures of students/pupils in the state; Is on record that since 2012 the state did not conduct a genuine school census, Absence of school census has an adverse effect on free education, More is needed to be done for the policy to flourish.
  2. Inadequate teachers and classrooms is a major setback to the free education policy, The state Government should wake up from her slumber by constructing more classrooms as well supplied more chairs/desk to the existing schools.
  3. Government must invest more money for the rehabilitation of schools destroyed during the communal conflict in the state, many schools were demolished to debris while other schools were destroyed by flood disaster in 2012, But little or no effort was put in place to address the anomalies.
  4. The Governor should keep to his promise of reconstruction and rehabilitation of affected schools during the crisis, No fewer than 30,000 students /pupils did not have access to schools and health care in Nasarawa state.
  5. For free education to thrive, The state Governor should introduce School Evaluation Inspection and Monitoring Unit (SEIMU) in all public schools, If this is done sky would be the starting point as supervisors would ensure the compliance to Government policy which include the extortion of illegal fees and levies, ineptitude by teachers amongst others.
  6. Government should make consultation before making any pronouncement that has to do with financial commitment towards the upliftment of the education sector.

7.Government should employed more security and teachers in public school to curbed the leakages created by the state Government as majority of security personnel in public schools still are casual workers serving for barely three to four years.

  1. Government should provide Continuous Assessment and other teaching aides to to schools.

9.Government should accord priority to the recruitment of teachers than supervisors While principals should cooperate with the Governor for the policy to work, An investigation revealed that only few principals and head teachers are supporting the policy which they used as a conduit pipe to drain the state and parents.

Principals should avoid over charging students registering for West Africa Examination Council (WAEC). A stakeholder in the education sector described the free education policy as a partial free-education; He affirmed that only few states operate free-education not political statement of Al-Makura.

The Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Ramatu Ajuji Abubakar when contacted in her office over the reintroduction of fees promised to get back to the press at a later date as she promise to take a drastic steps towards addressing the anomalies affecting school systems in the state, The commissioner said prior attention would be accorded to the resuscitation of the education sector, even as as she decried the rising spate of non-certified commercial schools in the state.

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