The National Association of Parents and Teachers of Federal Government Colleges, an affiliate body of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA), says it will not accept N5,000-insurance fee in unity schools.
Mr Ehis Ogbeide, the former Chairman of PTA, Federal Government College, Kwali and North Central Zonal Coordinator of National Association of Parents and Teachers of Federal Government Colleges, spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that the association was not concerned about the old N1, 500-insurance scheme which had fizzled out on its own but would not accept the introduction of another fee.
“There came in 2014 during our national election in Umuahia when parents were calling us on vacation day that there was this flier that was given to parents and children about insurance fee they intended to introduce.
“By our constitution, the permanent secretary and our board of trustee members are supposed to be ones to conduct the election. So, the ministry sent a high powered delegation to that election.
“And you know ordinarily when we have a policy shift, you call the national executive council to the ministry and then, you do a discourse.
“We directed that no parents should pay because we were not part of that information; and as I am speaking right now, that is still our position for two years running.’’
Ogbide said that afterwards, there was a directive from the National Executive Council for all chairmen in that council to send messages to their schools directing parents not to pay.
He said that it was agreed with the ministry that there was a problem with the arrangement between NICON insurance and the ministry to introduce N5, 000-insurance fee.
The former PTA chairman said that it was agreed that the fee should be put on hold while the insurance company went round the 104 unity schools to sensitise the parents.
“The general reactions from schools even without us brainwashing them was that the fee was not acceptable by them; in some schools they even drove the insurance people out of the schools.
“Up until now, the meeting to review the outcome of the sensitisation has not been held.
“We also told them that Muslims do not have the permission of their religion to insure lives; they went behind our back and wrote circulars to their principals to carry out the directive but we are still saying no,’’ he said.
He said that 5,000-insurance fee from every child in all the unity colleges would amount to more than N600 million per year.
Ogbeide said that more than 75 per cent of parents of children in unity schools abided by the directive not to pay.
He said, however, that some parents of new intakes paid as they did not know about the PTA directive.
According to him, the association is open to dialogue as the new minister of education is willing to negotiate with it over the issue.
Ogbeide said that the association had invested more than N500 million in unity colleges as a way of helping the Federal Government.