Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Ogun private school owners protest over multiple levies

Private school owners in Ogun State on Wednesday protested over alleged multiple levies and charges by the state government.

Scores of the private schools owners under the aegis of National Associations of Proprietors of Private Schools, Ogun chapter, stormed the Nigeria Union of Journalists Secretariat, Oke Ilewo, Abeokuta protesting  against the more than 150 per cent increase in the charges for the First School Leaving Certificate examination.
They said it has been increased  from N500 to N2,000.

The protesters displayed placards with different inscriptions such as ‘Don’t kill private schools with multiple levies,  dues and charges, the economic downturn affects us and the parents too’  ‘Do not destroy our educational system by destroying private schools’, ‘Private schools need government, if not let us be’, and ‘Do not kill our private schools with levies upon levies‘ among others.

The President of the association, Alhaji Rilwan Hassan, who spoke for the proprietors, said the government has also increased the fees for the Basic Education Certificate Examination  by 50 per cent from N2,500 to N5,000.

He explained that there was disparity between fees and charges payable by the public and private schools to the state government on these two examinations.

He argued that these were affecting and killing the system of education in the state.

Hassan said that the association had written so many letters to the relevant authorities, including the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, to intervene in the situation but no response.

He said, “We have come to appeal through you and the general public to help appeal to His Excellency, the Governor of Ogun State,  Senator Ibikunle Amosun, to give respite over issues affecting us as owners of private schools and the parents who entrust their children in our hands,  who are also tax payers.

“We want the government to reverse decisions on charges for BECE, FSLC, signage, tenement rate, renewal fees and multiple taxes.

“The disparity is what we say we don’t want, we are not saying there is no justification for the increment because of stationery, but for it to have been jacked up by 400 per cent, it is  quite disheartening. We are not enjoying any benefit as private schools owners.

“We are assisting the government to employ staff into our schools  and a lot of us are on loans. It is a social service we are rendering.”


Hassan said pupils from the private schools in the state have been doing well in the West African Examinations Council, where 55 private secondary schools were among the best performed schools, last year.

He said, “We are among the best 1,000 schools in WAEC last year, no single public school in Ogun State  in the last WAEC is among the 1,000 and we have 55 private schools from Ogun State, that are among.”

On the issue of mushroom private schools in the state, he said the association had done a documentary on them, which it had submitted to the commissioner for education, for necessary action, but nothing has been done about it.


Reacting to the allegation, the State Commissioner for Education, Modupe Mujota, said the increments  were necessary given the current economic reality in the country.

Mujota said the increments were not a routine exercise, adding that they have not been touched in the last four years.

She said, “The intention of the government was not to kill the schools adding that the decision was in line with the school fees being charged by the schools.”





Punch

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