Model College, Igbonla, Lagos.
The controversy over the increase in feeding and welfare fees for students in Lagos State Model Colleges is yet to abate as parents and government bicker over fees.
One of the parents, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the state government’s decision to increase feeding and welfare fees from N25, 000 to N50, 000 was unacceptable.
He noted that the actual fee reviewed is N125, 000, but with N75, 000 subsidies from the government.
He queried the sudden increase and subsequent subsidy of N75, 000 being proposed by the government when it never gave any on the N25, 000 parents have been paying.
The aggrieved parent alleged that the increase is simply a means of extorting them, while government officials allegedly enrich their pockets.
He said: “No parent of Lagos Model College will agree to this N50, 000 feeding fee for boarding students. Before now, we paid N25, 000 for feeding and welfare; now the question is; has the Lagos state government ever subsidised the N25, 000 feeding fee before? No.
“Why is the government interested in subsidising now and increasing feeding fee? The fee currently being paid is N25,000; the government came with a proposal to help us subsidise it after increasing it to N125,000 per child. At first, it claimed to subsidise N50, 000 per child, asking parents to pay N75, 000.
“Later, the state commissioner for education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, said it has been reduced to N50, 000 per child. This means that the Lagos State government will subsidise N75, 000 per child, while parents will pay N50, 000.
“This is to show that all officials of the state government in relation to the increase allegedly have a fraudulent motive behind the increase, which is not justifiable. Honestly, there is a need for an audit of the money because N25, 000 per student at 1,000 students will give you N25m.
“The principals in each school are the only administrators and signatory to the account and they spend this money at their will. Meanwhile, each student, on resumption per term, takes some items called hostel requirements to school.
“We have agreed that even if there is an increase, it should be pegged at N30, 000, which is all-inclusive of hostel requirements and auxiliaries per student.
“We are also asking for the inclusion of parents who are professionals in the kitchen management of the school.’’
In a related development, a coalition of parents has demanded their inclusion in the administration of fees paid by students for proper accountability.
The forum also called for an audit of the account of all model colleges in Lagos State.
The chairman, Mr. Dapo Dawodu, said the coalition has accepted N30, 000 fees “as stated in letters sent to the state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, state House of Assembly, and the Commissioner for Education.
”In conclusion, we have rejected the feeding fee of N50, 000 presented to us but have agreed to an upward review pegged at N30, 000,” another parent said.
“The minimum wage is N30,000 and you expect a parent with three children at a model college to pay a total of N150, 000 plus other personal payments?” Dawodu queried.
The coalition demanded that parents, who are professionals, should be included in kitchen management in the school’s kitchen affairs.
It also sought the inclusion of the body in the administration of fees paid by students for accountability.