The Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, on Monday said her ministry has proposed a N150 a meal per student in Federal Government Colleges.
Ms. Rufa’I, who announced this in Abuja when members of the Senate Committee on Education visited her in her office, said students’ welfare is considered a top priority of the ministry.
She said the ministry is of the opinion that high meal subsidy for students could create operational challenges. She held that Federal Government College (FGC) Buni-Yadi, which in 2011 received N91.58 million as meal subsidy and overhead cost, had its budget reduced to N30.44 million this year.
The minister said similar cuts were made in the budgets of FGCs in Gusau, Wukari, Okigwe, Sokoto; Federal Government Girls Colleges (FGGC)) in Bauchi, Enugu, Ikot-Obio-Itong, Langtang and Federal Science Teachers’ College, Jalingo.
She also told the legislators that the ministry believed that the Universal Basic Education Commission should continue to oversee intervention funds for basic education instead of funding the states directly.
The minister said the National Certificate of Education (NCE) was still relevant and that the ministry planned to upgrade the standard and quality of teachers produced through the programme.
However, Olusola Adeyeye, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee, decried the less than N50 a meal subsidy for some unity schools, describing it as “unacceptable”.
“This should be a source of concern to all of us. I am sure this contributed to the poor performance of students in the last SSCE”.
“This can cause problems in schools, and students can also go on demonstrations that can lead to the disruption of academic activities,” he said.
Mr. Adeyeye asked the ministry to prioritise its budget as cutting down the meal subsidy for students was not an option in budget cuts.