– The federal government says it has no plans to hike tuition fees of Nigerian universities to N350,000
– The govt, however, says it is working toward re-establishing the education bank to address the role of education funding
– The federal government also called on states governments owing teachers’ salaries to take steps in ensuring that teachers are paid, when due
The Federal Ministry of Education on Wednesday, October 3, debunked the news trending on social media that the federal government had approved the hike in tuition fees of Nigerian universities to N350,000.
Sonny Echono, the permanent secretary in the ministry made the clarification at a symposium in Abuja, NAN reports.
TheSun gathers that Echono, who said the federal government was not planning to increase the tuition fees, urged Nigerians to remain calm on the issue.
The symposium had its theme: ‘The Right to Education means the Right to a Qualified Teacher’’.
“The federal government did not and has no intention of introducing new tuition fees in our public universities not to mention the figure to N350, 000.
“What is true is that the present administration is committed to guarantee quality of education.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Education along with the Ministry of Finance to jointly organise a workshop that will inform on a very sustainable and workable recommendation of funding education in Nigeria.
“And to this end, we have been engaging with various stakeholders, including the Academic Staff Union of Universities who have come up with very useful contributions,” he said.
Echono added that the ministry was working toward re-establishing the education bank to address the role of education funding as the government cannot do it alone.
He said the role of the education bank would be to give loan at a low interest rate, saying this would not be limited to students alone but also parents.
On the right to education, Echono said every child has the fundamental right to quality education, adding that the ministry had developed strategies to ensure pupils and students with special needs were carried along.
Echono said that the National Teachers Institute (NTI) had also concluded plans to train and develop the capacity of primary and secondary school teachers in the 36 states and FCT.
He said that the right to education was sine qua non to national development, saying the Ministerial Strategic Plan (2016 to 2019) had been designed to guarantee expanded access to all levels of education.
Echono said that the plan was geared toward providing adequately the necessary infrastructure and facilities to ensure that the right to the basic level and standards were maintained.
He, therefore, called on teachers to upgrade themselves as effective from January 2020, any teacher who did not present the prerequisite qualifications would be pushed out of the system.
Echono urged the teachers to take advantage of the professional examinations made available in 35 states and online resource materials to guide them as a teacher.
He, however, called on states governments owing teachers’ salaries to take a step in ensuring that teachers were paid as when due and as well motivate teachers adequately for optimal performance.
Earlier, Mrs Justina Ibe, the director, Education Support Service of the ministry, said the federal government had not relented in its efforts to ensure that the teaching profession was provided with qualified personnel.
Ibe said that this informed the Ministerial Strategic Plan which were now being implemented gradually with positive results.
The symposium was part of activities to commemorate the World Teachers Day to hold on October 5, to celebrate the contributions of teachers to nation building.
Meanwhile, SUN previously reported that a group of persons who claimed to be students of the Benue state University, Makurdi, shut down academic and non-academic activities on the school’s two campuses in protest against the hike in their tuition fees.
The students went on a protest after the university management introduced new conditional charges that resulted in an over 65 percent hike in tuition fees for new students.