The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has rejected the proposal by the National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria, NAPTAN, that each parent should be made to pay N10, 000 per student to support university education in the country.
The National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, stated this on Thursday during an interview on Arise Television.
This is just as parents are divided on the payment of the said money.
Osodeke was reacting to the statement by the National Public Relations Officer of NAPTAN, Dr Ademola Ekundayo, who said in Osogbo on Tuesday that the body had written to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, proposing the levy as a means for parents supporting the government in funding university education.
“What parents should do is to also join ASUU and others in putting pressure on the government to do the needful and fund education at all levels the way it should be funded. Why is it that it is only education that they don’t have money to spend on? They have more than enough public money to spend on themselves and their families.
“We cannot be calling ourselves the giant of Africa and we will be lagging behind countries such as Togo, Benin Republic, Ghana and others in education. Our people are spending billions of dollars getting educated in those places.
“It is the government that should get its priorities right. If they accord education the attention it deserves, things would be well,” he said.
Speaking to Vanguard on the issue, the National President of NAPTAN, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, said he was not aware of the proposal.
“We all want our children to resume as soon as possible and we are also ready to take steps to put an end to the ongoing strike. However, I am not aware of the proposed N10,000 Support Levy. The person who said that did not inform me and it was not discussed by the national leadership of the association.
“Be that as it may, such a levy would only add to the burden of parents, some of whom are reeling under the yoke of the economic downturn in the country. Moreover, would the money be paid to accounts of universities and who manages it? Or is that the government would add it to the fees being charged the students? I have received lots of calls from parents complaining about it,” he said.
Also commenting, the Southwest Zonal Coordinator of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Comrade Stephen Tegbe, told our correspondent that more burdens should not be piled on parents.
“Universities are not primary or secondary schools where you have PTA levy. Our parents should not be dragged into this mess. Education is the right of the citizens and the government should not derelict in the discharge of its duties. If the government can find money to do things like the payment of numerous allowances to public officers, it should find means of doing the needful in this regard,” he said.
Recall that Ekundayo was quoted as saying NAPTAN had written Adamu, proposing the levy as a way to support the funding of university education in Nigeria.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14, this year and may not call off the action during its scheduled National Executive Council meeting next week going by feelers from the branches of the union.
This is just as non-academic staff unions in the university system have called off their own actions.
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Allied Institutions, and the National Association of Academic Technologists, NAAT, have suspended their strikes.