Drama as parents boo Commissioner in C’River

A drama-like situation ensued on Thursday at the Family Support (FSP) Nursery and Primary School, Calabar, as parents of pupils booed and walked out on the state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Edak Iwuchukwu, after a protracted argument about increase in school fees.

The ministry, which runs the school, hiked fees unilaterally without consulting with the Parents/Teachers Association (PTA) of the school, an action the latter condemned and protested when the opportunity provided itself.

The opportunity was the graduation day for the pupils, who had just finished the 2012/2013 academic session; so the pupils watched their parents booing the Commissioner when she insisted that they must pay the new fees.
Events got out of hand during the meeting when the parents complained that the pupils could not sit for their examinations, let alone hold graduation ceremony because funds were not released by the ministry for that purpose.

The PTA chairman, Okon Eyibio Okon, had complained that the parents were aggrieved that the Commissioner had refused to release funds to the school authorities for the conduct of the terminal examination as well as for the graduation ceremony even when a greater number of the parents had paid their wards schools.

Okon stated that it was inappropriate for the school to increase the school tuition fee alone from N8,000 to N26,000 yet the school did not conduct examinations for those pupils who had paid their fees on the excuse that only 30 percent of the pupils in the school with a population of about 300 pupils  had paid their fees.

Okon complained that it was irrational to deny the about 70 percent of the pupils who had paid their fees examination over the ‘sins’ of a negligible few.
Okon lamented the arbitrary hike in fees saying that the 300 percent  increase was outrageous and therefore not in the best interest of the parents as well as the state adding that the school was basically established to cater for the less privileged class.

Okon urged that the Commissioner be redeployed as her assumption in the ministry has brought continuous tales of woes rather blessing to the school.
Despite the complaint by the parents, the Commissioner responded by saying that any parent who is unable to cope with the continuous fee hike by her ministry should withdraw their wards.

Iwuchukwu also told them that the school was not a charity organization and that government expects revenue from the school’s proceeds.
Apparently angered by the statement of the Commissioner, the parents demanded immediate apology from her, stressing that she should withdraw the statement.

When she refused to withdraw the statement and apologise as demanded, the parents booed her and left her talking to herself and her Directors alone.

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