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Minister of State for Education Announces Negotiation Team to Address School Fees Hike



The Federal Government has announced its intention to establish an official negotiation team comprising members of the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and other pertinent stakeholders. This team will address the recent increase in school fees across the nation.

Dr. Yusuf Sununu, the Minister of State for Education, shared this information during a press conference held in Abuja on Friday, coinciding with the International Day to Protect Education from Attack. Sununu emphasized that the rising school fees might be a significant contributing factor to attacks on schools, underscoring the necessity to investigate this issue to prevent further incidents.

He pointed out that while many aspects of education require financial resources, it’s essential to consider the constitutional provisions. The constitution explicitly states the principle of free education, with the condition that it should be provided “when government can afford.” This concept also allows for voluntary contributions from all stakeholders.

Sununu emphasized that ensuring safety in schools is a collective responsibility and that the government aims to promote formal negotiations. In cases where the government cannot fully provide, they will encourage cooperation between the PTA and relevant institutions to reach mutually acceptable terms.

“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 in 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 Nigerians without decreasing the quality of education,” he said.

The minister also said that the Federal Government had ratified the Safe School Declaration in December 2019 and developed a safe school policy in furtherance to upholding the right to education in emergency situations.

He pledged the ministry’s commitment in developing learning centres in Internally Displaced Peoples (IDP) camps as well as providing relevant information on threat assessments to the schools at all levels.

“Nigeria in recent past has had more than a fair share of attacks on our education system at all levels. These attacks are not only physical but also non-physical, especially on deliberate attempts to water down our standards of education.

“The Federal Ministry of Education, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, have put in place various strategies to deal with these attacks.

”All our efforts would be geared towards implementing the safe school policy for all. The pre-activities of the celebration include playlet, dance, drama, poetic rendition and quiz competition.

“The presentation by learners are expected to emphasise the need for collaboration and focus on school safety policy for implementation guidance by all stakeholders,” he said.

He explained that the ministry is key in the renewed hope agenda of President Bola Tinubu in moving Nigeria on the right track.

He said at the first inaugural meeting with the president, security was a major factor that featured in the deliberation of the council and attempt to return at least four million out-of-school children back to school.

He said the ministry would ensure it lives up to its responsibilities by ensuring standards at the various educational levels.

The International Day to Protect Education from Attack, observed every year on Sept. 9, is an international observance by the United Nations General Assembly established in 2020.

Nigeria will be observing the celebration on Friday, Sept.8, 2023.