The Federal Ministry of Education on Wednesday denied that the federal government planned to increase tuition fees in Nigerian universities to N350,000.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the allegation by the lecturers’ union, ASUU, that such was being considered by the government.
Sonny Echono, the permanent secretary in the education ministry, gave the government’s stance at a symposium in Abuja.
Mr Echono said the federal government was not planning to increase the tuition fees. He also urged Nigerians to remain calm on the issue.
“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,” he said.
“What is true is that the present administration is committed to guaranteeing 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 various stakeholders including ASUU who can come up with a very useful contribution that will bring all these recommendations achievable. Mr 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, Mr 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.
Mr 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.
Mr 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. Mr 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.
Earlier, 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.
Mr Ibe said that this informed the Ministerial Strategic Plan which was now being implemented gradually with positive results.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 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.