In a recent statement endorsed by the chairmen of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) in the Southwest Zone’s 19 Unity Colleges, along with Zonal Coordinator Prof. Lukuman Adekilekun Jimoda and Zonal Secretary Dr. Emmanuel Chinazum Onyenuche, the Forum of the PTA has voiced concerns over the current admission process into Unity Colleges. The PTA Chairmen highlighted that certain students resort to cheating through special centers during entrance examinations, which deprives deserving and brilliant students of their rightful opportunities to attend these institutions.
The Forum emphasized that maintaining the integrity of entrance examinations is crucial to ensuring that Unity Colleges are populated by deserving students who can positively contribute to the nation’s growth. They urged the National Examinations Council (NECO) to follow the example set by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in conducting exams with integrity.
Additionally, the PTA Forum congratulated the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, and the Minister of State, Education, Mr. Yusuf Tanko Sununu, on their appointments. However, they highlighted the need for significant improvements in Unity Colleges. The Forum expressed concern over the deteriorating state of facilities and the shortage of teachers, stressing that addressing these issues is vital for maintaining educational standards.
The Forum also discussed the financial burden placed on parents due to the deplorable state of infrastructure. They called for holistic funding and maintenance strategies to alleviate this pressure, ensure adequate power and water supply, and reduce the financial burden on parents.
Regarding staffing, the PTA-employed staff who work alongside government-employed staff were brought to attention. The Forum appealed to the government to consider absorbing these staff members, as their employment conversion has been pending for over a decade. This move would not only reduce financial pressure on parents but also ensure the continuity of quality education.
Addressing the recent increase in fees payable by students in Unity Colleges, the Forum noted that while tuition remains free, sundry fees have significantly risen. They expressed concern that this increase could further strain parents who are already facing economic hardships, especially due to the removal of oil subsidies. The Forum urged the government to lower boarding fees, considering the government’s food subsidies and its impact on students’ welfare.
The PTA Forum stressed that quality education is a cornerstone of national development and unity schools offer students from various socio-economic backgrounds access to quality education. They emphasized that the proposed fee increase could force many students to drop out, hindering the nation’s progress. The Forum called on the government to prioritize accessible quality education and tackle the challenges faced by these institutions to demonstrate its commitment to the nation’s youth.
In closing, the Forum pledged its support to the government in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in education service delivery.