The Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, has said the Federal Government will set up a formal negotiation team between the Parent-Teacher Association and other relevant stakeholders to meet on the recent increase in tuition fees for schools across the country.
Speaking at a news conference in commemoration of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack in Abuja on Friday, the minister said the hike in school fees could be the major cause of the various attacks happening across schools, adding that there was a need to find a solution to the problem.
Sununu also said that the Federal Government had ratified the Safe School Declaration in December 2019 and developed a safe school policy to uphold the right to education in emergency situations.
He said, “So many areas that require finances are being attacked but we must also look at the constitutional provisions. The constitution expressly states free education but with a caveat, ‘when government can afford’ and that is why it also comes as voluntary contributions by all stakeholders. When we say safety in schools, it is a collective responsibility. So, we are going to encourage formal negotiations.
“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. Also, we will encourage a lot of partnerships as part of areas that can bring peace. Whether we agree or not, we must appreciate the role of PTAs in sustaining services in lots of our schools at both local and federal levels.
“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.”