School Fees increase: What is El-Rufai up to?
SIR: The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Kaduna State University (KASU) chapter recently sounded alarm that about 75 per cent of the university’s students may drop out of school due to the hike in tuition fees.
The university had been directed by the state government to immediately increase the tuition fees by over 500 per cent; from N24,000 to a minimum of N 150,000 for each student.
This is very unfortunate considering the state of the national economy and the level of hardship ordinary people are experiencing. It is hard to imagine someone who campaigned to offer free education taking such a harsh decision particularly at this time.
More than anyone, Governor Nasir El-Rufai ought to know that education is a right and not a privilege; just as the burden of funding education should be borne by the government and not shifted to parents.
Really, the hike in fees can only worsen the plight of the students in the situation that majority of them are from the less privileged backgrounds; in fact, majority are sons and daughters of peasant farmers, petty traders, vendors; few are civil servants living from hand to mouth. How does the governor expect them to pay such amount? Will these students not eventually drop out of school? If for nothing, the current security challenges ought to have dictated caution by the state government.
Does El-Rufa’I appreciate that the security challenge the nation is currently experiencing is due chiefly to lack of education?
Now, for the first time in Nigeria, students will pay nearly N300,000 in a public as against private university. Interestingly, there are private universities whose tuition fees are not even up to that amount!
Is it not ironic that governor that has sacked most of the parents and guardians of these students now wants to throw their wards out of school? Will this not have a negative impact on government’s quest to develop the state’s human capital? How about the potential contribution to the current restiveness particularly among the youths? Talk of unleashing more potential recruits for Boko Haram, thugs, bandits and kidnappers, cyber criminals and lots more.
I call on the eminent leaders, civil societies, traditional rulers and every stakeholder to immediately intervene in the matter with a view to avert the impending doom that may arise from the situation. So also, the Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) particularly university chapter as indeed the Kaduna State University management must join hands to resist the plan as failure to do so will inevitably exacerbate the current crises not just in Kaduna State but the nation as a whole.
Tabitha Bibinu Bala, University of Maiduguri.
Source: The Nation