No To N350,000 Tuition Fee

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Despite the current excruciating economic realities Nigerians go through in order to keep life going, particularly that of average parents trying to see their children and wards through formal education, more burden seems to be on the way for parents and students.
Only last week, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) warned the Federal Government against increasing tuition fees in public universities to N350,000 per session. ASUU alleged that the government had concluded plans to effect the hike in fees from next academic year and urged Nigerians to vehemently resist such move.
According to ASUU’s Ibadan Zonal Coordinator, Dr. Ade Adejumo, the increase in fees was the position of Federal Government’s team led by Dr. Wale Babalakin, which ASUU has rejected. Also, Adejumo hinted that the Federal Government plans to establish education bank where students will go for loans to attend public tertiary institutions, which would be repayable at the end of their studentship.
We cannot agree more with ASUU in rejecting and distancing itself from such an insensitive and ill-thought out policy. Education in Nigeria at the moment needs motivation and favourable environment to thrive rather than harsh policies that would further nail it on the cross.
That is why we also join the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in cautioning against any hike in tuition fees in public universities. We back NANS President, Danielson Bamidele’s declaration of Nigerian students’ readiness to resist the plan while urging government to live up to its responsibilities and obligations to the citizenry.
Sound and affordable education is one of the cardinal obligations of government. It is therefore, confounding that while many countries are seeking ways to encourage their citizens to embrace education by making it attractive, Nigeria is contemplating taking it beyond the reach of average citizens.
No thanks to the dwindling economic situation in Nigeria, as parents and their wards are going through excruciatingchallenges to go through universities and government should not make worse an already bad situation.
The Tide is, however, hopeful that the plan would not see the light of day. According to the Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echono, the Federal government has not approved any hike in tuition fee to N350,000 nor does it have such an intention in the near future. We believe that such a plan, whether real or imagined should be nipped in the bud because it is not only unwarranted, it is also unacceptable.
Such a move, particularly, at this time, may not only result in students dropping out of school, but it may also see them and indeed Nigerians try to resist it violently. This is because majority of the students in Nigeria’s public universities today are children of average Nigerians going through hardships to survive.
By no means should the people be given the short end of the stick all the time.
We think that the Federal Government should rather explore ways of making tertiary education more appealing to the people rather than a hike in tuition fees. Increasing the budgetary allocations to the education sector in order to fix some of the challenges of tertiary education in Nigeria is a good option.
Thus, hike in tuition fees or any policy that would decimate the capacity of Nigerians to enjoy affordable education, especially in the tertiary institutions must be discouraged for its consequences, which would spell doom on the part of the leadership.
Education should not be seen as a privilege to the citizens or a commodity for the rich and the privileged, it is a right which every responsible government all over the world tries to provide for citizens. Nigeria, should therefore, not be an exception.