In a recent announcement, the Federal Government has unveiled plans to establish an official negotiation team to address the issue of rising school fees in educational institutions nationwide. Dr Yusuf Sununu, the Minister of State for Education, disclosed this development during a press conference held to mark the International Day to Protect Education from Attack in Abuja.
Dr Sununu emphasized that the escalating school fees might be a contributing factor to the increasing attacks on educational institutions, necessitating a closer examination of the matter to prevent further incidents. He pointed out that various financial aspects of education needed to be considered, including constitutional provisions.
The minister highlighted that the constitution guarantees free education with the stipulation that it is provided “when government can afford.” Moreover, it allows for voluntary contributions from all stakeholders. Dr Sununu stressed that ensuring safety in schools is a collective responsibility and proposed fostering formal negotiations to address the issue.
He stated, “Where government cannot provide, we will encourage the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and relevant institutions to come to terms that are acceptable to all parties involved.” Dr. Sununu also acknowledged the crucial role played by PTAs in supporting educational services at both local and federal levels, emphasizing the importance of partnerships in promoting peace.
Regarding financial constraints, Dr Sununu noted, “While we manage our resources prudently at the ministry level, we aim to identify areas where funds can be maximized to make quality education affordable to every Nigerian without compromising its standard.”
The minister further highlighted the Federal Government’s commitment to upholding the right to education in emergency situations. He revealed that the government had ratified the Safe School Declaration in December 2019 and had developed a safe school policy to this end. Additionally, he pledged the ministry’s dedication to establishing learning centres in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and providing relevant threat assessment information to schools at all levels.