Parents of pupils in the unity schools and the Federal Ministry of Education are now at loggerheads over the directive by the ministry asking parents to pay N5,000 insurance policy for their children.
Under the scheme, which is being underwritten by NICON Insurance Plc, the money is to mitigate the effects of the Boko Haram insurgency and other forms of attacks on educational institutions.
Though parents applauded the initiative, they however rejected the provision that stipulated that each of the pupils should pay N5,000 per annum to enjoy the scheme.
For instance, the Chairman, Parent-Teacher-Association, Federal Government College, Jos, Plateau State, Mutla Habila, said parents were opposed to the scheme.
He told newsmen that parents were opposed to the scheme because they could not see its value. “As the PTA FGC Jos chairman, I was the first person to question the propriety of the scheme and I stand by my opposition to it. I am asking all parents not to pay and those who have paid should ask for a refund.”
But the Principal of FGC Jos, Manko Mohammed, said the insurance scheme was a policy of the Federal Government, which all parents were to comply with.
He said that he had not asked parents not to pay, but the text message asking parents to ignore the directive was from the PTA of the school which the authorities knew nothing about.
“As a civil servant, I am supposed to follow directives and this one is from the Federal Ministry of Education and I communicate to all parents through the newsletter. I did not send any text message to parents. It was from a certain PTA of which we have no knowledge of.”
He said all parents were duly briefed about the benefits of the scheme to the welfare of their children.
The scheme, when implemented will fetch NICON N625m from the 104 unity schools with 125,000 pupils.
Also, some parents of pupils at the Federal Government College, Ijanikin, Lagos have queried the scheme, arguing that the Federal Government was supposed to pay for the policy because it was the government that should be responsible for the security of the pupils.
“I work in a company too and the management of the firm has insured me. I was not asked to pay for the policy, so why should the government ask pupils to pay N5,000 yearly for the policy?” One of the parents, Mr. Kunle Ayeni, said.
Also, the King’s College, Lagos Parent-Teacher-Association on Tuesday faulted the new insurance regime, saying the move was hasty.
The association who spoke through its Chairman, Emman Oriakhi, said though the initiative looked laudable, it was wrong for the Federal Government to have embarked on it without consulting major stakeholders.
“It is a good move that was hastily carried out. The Federal Ministry of Education did not consult any interested group in the sector.
“The KCPTA is aligning with its parent association, National Association of Parent-Teacher of the Federal Government Colleges, in rejecting this policy.
“If major stakeholders had discussed the derivable gains, we would have been in a position to say whether it is worth committing our money to.
“Do you know what it means to garner N625m every year via this policy? So, I canvass that the authorities should invite and discuss with stakeholders on the way forward.”
Meanwhile, the management of NICON Insurance Plc, on Tuesday said its appointment as the underwriter of the Students’ Welfare Insurance Scheme followed due process.
The Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs of NICON, Ade Adesokan, made this known in a statement.
The statement said the scheme was presented to the Federal Ministry of Education and due process was followed before the firm’s appointment as the underwriter.
It said that the new scheme would help to address the challenges of pupils’ welfare and continuity of their studies.
According to the statement, its objective is to bring succour to pupils that may lose their parents through accident or by natural means.
“The Students Welfare Insurance Scheme is a combination of Group Personal Accident and Group Life Assurance Schemes. It is packaged for pupils of 104 unity schools throughout the country,” the statement said.
It said that in the case of accidental death of a pupil, the sponsor named in the policy would be entitled to N500, 000.
The statement said that in the event of the sponsor or guardian’s death, the pupil would be entitled to the payment of school fees up to the year of graduation.
It said such a pupil would be entitled to a maximum of N500, 000 per annum.
“In case a pupil accidentally sustains permanent disability, he or she will be entitled to N500, 000 as compensation.
“For accidental medical expenses, a pupil will be entitled to N50, 000 for medical treatment.
“If a student is involved in accidental death, the company will pay N50, 000 for burial expenses,” Adesokan explained.
It said that some conditions were also to be fulfilled before a pupil could enjoy the benefits.