In any academic community and systems, various stakeholders play key roles in the fulfilment of aims and set objectives. In a typical university community, from the Vice Chancellor who chairs all academic activities to the Registrar who chairs non-academic activities, down to the staff, students, government, local community etc., there remains one critical stakeholder who is scarcely placed in the scene – the parents.
To say that the parents are the primary financiers of education but their voices are scarcely heard is inexplicable. The Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) constitutes a body that uphold the voices of parents in academics. Nevertheless, these bodies in various systems continue to function epileptically and in most cases, non-existent.
In private universities, parents and sponsors account for 100% of academic sponsorship while in its public counterpart setting, it account for an estimated 50-70% of academic funding with the government taking up the other 50-30%.
Parental academic funding cost is rated higher above government funding in States universities and this is buttressed with available data. In the Niger Delta University for example, the government funding according to the management is N350m in subvention on a monthly basis. Let us compare this to the over 20,000 students in the institution.
In the A & U Ng recent survey conducted on student’s platforms and parents groups both on WhatsApp and Facebook, it was observed that the average weekly handouts given to students is N5,000 weekly. This is an estimated N20,000 on a monthly basis. N20,000 x 20,000 students gives you N400m on a monthly basis.
This estimate gives a full picture of the responsibility that the parents and sponsors community bears. Aside the financial implication, they also plays the role of moral upbringing, support and other incentives.
The weight of parental contributions to academics is largely dependent on the nature of funding the institution receives. In private universities, the parents are fully in charge of funding. In Federal universities however, the load is lighter as they are tuition free institutions. While in State owned institutions, the weight lies in between that of private and federal schools. By way of comparison, parental contribution by institutions is as thus:
- Private Universities: 100%
- State Universities: 70%
- Federal Universities: 50%
From the foregoing, one can deduct the overwhelming role of the parents in the growth of academics in general. However, despite these notable roles, the parents’ voices are hardly heard in academic policy formulation and implementation. The parents should have been accorded due regard in issues of policies especially school fees/tuition increment, students suspension, school closure, alumni matters amongst others.
If parents’ bodies are solidly constituted and functional, they could become a form of pressure group and lobby school administrative and government policies for the benefit of the students and also act as mediators where students/management conflict arise.
PTAs are only possible where there are concerned parents and school administrators who care for a working system that fulfils all academic righteousness. They can be formulated by school administrators in connection with the parents who further helps to connect more and more parents.
The Case with A & U Ng and the NPA
The A & U Ng, seeing the NDU school fees increment saga of 2018 where parents did not contribute to the resolution of the matter, formulated a parent group for the purpose of disseminating school information to the parents without any obstruction/distortion from the students. Then, the secondary aim of the group was to create more business opportunities as parents, through the NDU Parent/Teacher Association as it was then known connected with the A & U Ng and transacted their wards’ payments through it.
Want to Join Our Parent Association? WhatsApp 08060699054
Today however, the needs of the group has metamorphosed over time. Now known as the NDU Parent Association (NPA) with the motto: influencing managerial policies for better academic outcome, its aims now include to:
- Influence policies for better academic outcome
- Present information to parents as they are without any form of alteration.
- Ensure parents take necessary action when needed through timely information.
- Educate parents on the challenges wards face in school.
- Be a platform for regular parental education for continuous scholarships for wards.
- Help students to do the right thing at the right time to avoid the challenges that comes with late registration.
It is anticipated that in due time, the parents will form a stronger bond and associations, using that bond to lobby and pressure governments and school management into adjusting its academic policies for the greater good of the students.