The Federal Government has announced its intention to establish an official negotiating team comprising the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and relevant stakeholders. This initiative aims to address the recent increase in school fees across the nation. Dr. Yusuf Sununu, the Minister of State for Education, disclosed this during a press conference in Abuja to mark the International Day to Protect Education from Attacks.
Sununu emphasized that the rise in school fees could be a significant factor contributing to attacks on educational institutions. Therefore, there is a pressing need to examine this issue in order to prevent further incidents.
He pointed out that there are various financial demands on the education sector, but it is essential to consider constitutional provisions. The constitution acknowledges the principle of free education but includes a provision specifying that it should be provided “when the government can afford it.” Additionally, it allows for voluntary contributions from all stakeholders.
Sununu stressed that ensuring safety in schools is a collective responsibility. Therefore, the government plans to promote formal negotiations between the PTA and relevant institutions. The goal is to reach mutually agreeable terms that are acceptable to all parties involved.
Furthermore, the government intends to foster partnerships as a means to promote peace. Sununu acknowledged the vital role played by PTAs in sustaining services in both local and federal schools. Despite limited resources, the Ministry of Education is committed to identifying and addressing inefficiencies to make more funds available for schools. This approach aims to ensure that quality education remains affordable and accessible to every Nigerian without compromising its quality.
Additionally, Sununu highlighted that the Federal Government ratified the Safe School Declaration in December 2019 and developed a safe school policy to protect the right to education, especially in emergency situations. The Ministry of Education pledged its dedication to establishing learning centres in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps and providing schools at all levels with relevant information on threat assessments.
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