The Senate has passed the first reading of a bill suggesting a fine of N50,000 for parents who fail to provide their children with primary and secondary school education. In addition, the Red Chamber has recommended the provision of free meals for all children in the country.
The bill, put forward by Senator Orji Kalu under the title ‘Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act 2004, Section 2,’ mandates that every government in Nigeria must offer free, mandatory, and universal basic education to all children of primary and junior secondary school age.
Furthermore, the act stipulates that “Every parent is obligated to ensure that their child or ward attends and completes their primary school and junior secondary school education by sending them to primary and junior secondary schools.”
The act also requires that education stakeholders in each local government area ensure that parents or individuals responsible for a child fulfil their obligations under Section 2(2) of this Act.
The act further specifies that parents who violate the aforementioned requirements should, upon the first conviction, receive a reprimand. Upon a second conviction, they may face a fine of N2,000 or a one-month imprisonment, or both. Subsequent convictions could lead to a fine of N5,000 or imprisonment for two months, or both.
However, the Senate, in its amendment, proposes N50,000 fines, replacing the previously stated N5,000 in the Act.
The amendment states, “Section (4) (b) of the Principal Act is amended by substituting N2,000 with N20,000. Section (4) (c) of the Principal Act is amended by substituting N5,000 with N50,000.”
Additionally, it adds, “Section 3(2) of the Principal Act is amended by substituting N10,000 with N100,000.”
The amendment declares that anyone who receives or charges fees contrary to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section commits an offense and, upon conviction, may be subject to a fine not exceeding N10,000 or imprisonment for up to three months, or both.
The bill emphasizes that every parent is responsible for ensuring that their child receives full-time education appropriate to their age, abilities, and aptitude through regular attendance at schools.
The Senate suggests replacing the N10,000 with N100,000 as the proposed fine in Section 3(2) of the Principal Act.
In response to this development, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, the Programme Coordinator for Basic Education at Reform Education, Nigeria, noted in an interview with Saturday PUNCH that while the actions of the lawmakers seem commendable, there should be an investigation into additional charges imposed by public schools across the country.
The provided information is intended for general awareness and may not be entirely accurate or up-to-date. The post disclaims any warranties regarding the completeness, accuracy, or reliability of the content, services, or graphics on the website. It advises caution when using the information for any purpose.