ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- The Federal Government of Nigeria says it will set up a formal negotiation team between the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and relevant stakeholders to look into the recent hike in school fees nationwide.
The Minister of State for Education, Yusuf Sununu, made this known at a news conference to herald the commemoration of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack in Abuja on Friday.
Sununu said the hikes in school fees could be a core factor leading to school attacks, hence the need to look into the area to avert further attacks.
“So many areas that require finances are being attacked, but we must also look at the constitutional provisions,” said Sununu.
The minister, who emphasized that ensuring safety in schools was a collective responsibility, said the government would encourage the participation of all stakeholders.
“The constitutional provisions expressly state that free education but with a caveat ‘when the government can afford’ and that is why it comes also as voluntary contributions by all stakeholders.
“Where we cannot provide, it is to encourage PTA and relevant institutions so that we can agree to a term that is acceptable to all of us.
“So, while we do that with scarce resources, at the ministry level, we try to see how we can block leakages and see how more funds can be available to schools to ensure that quality education is affordable, acceptable to every Nigerian without decreasing the quality of education,” he said.
The minister also said the federal government had ratified the Safe School Declaration in December 2019 and developed a safe school policy to further uphold the right to education in emergencies.
He pledged the ministry’s commitment to developing learning centres in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps and providing relevant information on threat assessments to the schools at all levels.
“Nigeria in recent past has had more than a fair share of attacks on our education system at all levels. These attacks are not only physical but also non-physical, especially in deliberate attempts to water down our standards of education.
“The Federal Ministry of Education, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, have put in place various strategies to deal with these attacks,” he said.
He explained that the ministry is key in the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Tinubu in moving Nigeria on the right track.
He said that at the first inaugural meeting with the president, security was a significant factor in the council’s deliberation and attempt to return at least four million out-of-school children to school.