Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Federal House of Representatives has called for a reversal of the new school fees regime introduce in Federal Government colleges.
The Lawmakers made the call following a motion calling for a review and reversal of the decision to increase the fees.
They expressed concerned that the recently approved increase in school fees for students in the 104 Federal Colleges across the Country by the Federal Ministry of Education has caused anxiety among parents and students who are still grappling with the effects of the economic hardship caused by the recent subsidy.
The motion was moved by the member representing Ohaozara/Onicha/Ivo Federal Constituency of Ebonyi State, Nkemkanma Kama.
It was seconded by Olusegun Osoba Abeokuta North/Obafemi-Owode/Odeda Federal Constituency of Ogun State.
Mr Kama while moving the motion noted that Education is essential for the progress of any country as it contributes to social stability and drives long-term economic growth.
He further noted that the Federal Unity Schools were established to promote national unity and provide affordable education to Nigerian students from different parts of the country, regardless of their socioeconomic background.
Mr Kama also noted that the Federal Government established 104 Federal Government Colleges across the nation and adopted an enrolment policy which reflects the principle of Federal Character as well as a curriculum that targets patriotism, entrepreneurship, peaceful coexistence and interrelationship;
He however expressed concern that the facilities in Unity Schools across the country are severely dilapidated while the schools lack materials required for teaching which has negatively affected the quality of teaching and students performance in general.
He expressed worry that as a result of the new school fees regime many parents are considering withdrawing their wards from schools as they are unable to meet up with the fees.
The lawmakers noted that the increase could have dire consequences for the country as it may lead to an alarming number of out-of-school children
They also expressed worry that the increment will likely lead to a decline in students enrolment in these schools which were originally intended to be affordable.
This they noted could further impact on the already declining quality of education and the overall development of the country.
The lawmakers argued that the Federal Government has a responsibility to ensure that education remains accessible and affordable, especially during difficult economic times.
They therefore urged the Federal Ministry of Education to review the new School fees regime in Federal Government colleges and revert to the old regime
They also urged the Federal Government to adequately fund the education sector by increasing budgetary provisions to ensure that Nigerian students have access to quality and affordable basic and senior secondary education.
The lawmakers mandated the Committee on Basic Education (when constituted) to investigate the hike in school fees for students of Federal Government Colleges across the Country to ensure that basic education remains accessible and affordable to Nigerians.
The committee will have four weeks to carry out its assignment and report back to the house for legislative action.