Tuesday, April 27, 2021 7:58 am
By Philip Yatai
The Kaduna State Government on Monday announced measures it will take to help students cope with the increase of tuition fee in state owned tertiary institutions.
The Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Scholarship and Loans Board, Mr Hassan Rilwan, said one of the measures will be to reorganise the way students access scholarships in the state.
Rilwan said that the scheme would be restructured into needs-based for indigent students, merit-based for exceptionally brilliant students and loan facility for middle level students.
He said that the board would replace bursary with the need-based scholarship for indigent students to enable them pay the new tuition fees.
“But we will have to certify that the applicants are truly from indigent homes and cannot be able to pay the new fees so that the state government can support them.
“The government has also set aside a N2 billion loan facility for middle class students to access, pay their tuition fee, other schools needs and pay back in five years’ time at no interest,” he said.
He spoke at a press conference addressed by the Commissioner for Education, Dr Shehu Makarfi on the increase of tuition fee in state owned tertiary institutions.
While defending the increase in tuition, the commissioner said that the decision was taken to reposition the schools to deliver quality skills and training to solve 21st century challenges.
He identified the institutions as Kaduna State University (KASU), Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya, Shehu Idris College of Health Sciences, Makarfi, and Kaduna State College of Nursing and Midwifery.
NAN recalls that students of KASU had rejected the increase during a meeting with the school management on April 22.
Mr Abdulrazak Shuaibu, a medical student who spoke on behalf of the students, said that the tuition fees were increased from N26,000 to N150,000 for students in Faculty of Arts, Management and Social Sciences.
Shuaibu, a former President of Kaduna State Students Union, added that students of Faculty of Medicine from the state will now pay N300,000 as against N24,000 while non indigenes will pay N500,000.
But Makarfi explained that the government had pegged a minimum fee, but had however, directed managements of the institutions to determine what students in humanities, sciences, residents, and non-residents could pay.
He said that KASU had been directed to increase the tuition fees from between N24,000 and N26,000 to a minimum consolidated fee of N150,000.
He added that the minimum fees for National Diploma and Higher National Diploma programmes had been pegged at a minimum of N75,000 and N100,000 respectively.
The commissioner also said that the National Certificate in Education (NCE), programmes in COE Gidan Waya was equally increased to N75,000.
He said that the tuition fees were reviewed upward in line with current realities and for the institutions to be able to improve performance in Information Technology (IT), and research, to meet global demand.
“We want our tertiary institutions to offer courses like IT, cyber security, artificial intelligence, satellite technology and other skills that are in high demand globally.
“Government is ready to invest resources in tertiary institutions as long as they are ready to go along with the dynamics in society and the world at large.”
Makarfi added however, that the Nigerian constitution, the national and the Kaduna state education policies, have provided for free and compulsory basic education.
According to Makarfi, the Kaduna State Government is currently providing free education from pre-primary to senior secondary schools, but that tertiary education has to be paid for because there is nowhere in the world that it is free.
“In 2005, KASU Management proposed over N60,000 as tuition fee, but the government at that time said indigenes should pay between N24,000 and N26,000, while the government augments the balance annually.
“The government was only able to pay the balance for the first two years and had to stop, leaving the university in a deep financial crunch,” he said.
He pointed out that KASU Management was finding it difficult to run the school due to inadequate funds.
He stressed that the N26,000 tuition fee in the 21st century was grossly inadequate to generate the needed funds to run the school, improve facilities and capacity to accommodate more students and deliver the best of training and research.
The commissioner further noted that KASU could not accommodate the quantum of students that applied for various programmes in the institution due to issues of carrying capacity.
He said that most of the applicants were being forced to go to alternative institutions, particularly private universities, where they pay a minimum of N750,000 as tuition fee.
“So, why don’t we create an enabling environment, increase the carrying capacity of KASU for our children to remain at home, learn at home and pay less?
“I want to tell our parents and other stakeholders that despite the increased tuition fees, we are still subsiding compared to what other universities are collecting. Students in our tertiary institutions pay the least fees in this part of the country.
“What we want from the general public is their understanding and cooperation for us to improve the quality of education at tertiary institutions,” the commissioner said.
He added that more than N800 million was spent on school uniforms for pupils and students in some selected classes in 2020, adding that the amount would be increased to N1.6 billion in 2021 to cover all classes.
He equally said that about N800 million was spent on feeding students in the 31 boarding schools in the state.
The commissioner added that a total of N1.7 billion would be spent in 2021 following resumption of full academic activities in schools after months of lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Makarfi said that in the past, parents were paying N7,500 for feeding their children in boarding schools before it was completely abolished in 2019.
He explained that most of the achievements were recorded under the Education Emergency Project introduced by Gov. Nasir El-Rufai administration in 2015.
“We provided textbooks, learning materials, increased primary school enrollment, and budgeted N500 million annually to provide classroom furniture from 2015 to date.
“We have also constructed more classrooms, build more schools and currently have 541 secondary schools and over 4,600 primary schools across the state.
“In tertiary education, we have funded our institutions to get accreditations for all their programmes, and the permanent site of the Kaduna State University is being developed at Rigachukun,” he said.
The commissioner said that the state government was currently recruiting 7,600 qualified teachers for its secondary schools to bridge the manpower gap.
He added that similar exercises were conducted in Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria, and College of Education, Gidan Waya.
On the fee increase, the commissioner said that the decision was to reposition the schools to deliver quality skills and training to solve 21st century challenges.