The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Kaduna State University (KASU) chapter has said that about 75 per cent of students of the university may drop out of school due to the monumental increase in the tuition fee.
The branch chairman, Dr Peter Adamu, made this known in a statement in Kaduna recently, adding, that “many students may have to leave school because their parents cannot afford to pay the university.”
Adamu, however, enjoined the state government to rescind its decision to hike the tuition fee and engage relevant stakeholders on the issue in line with its ‘Open Government Partnership.’
According to him, “education is a right and not a privilege and the funding of education as stipulated in the Nigerian constitution is the sole responsibility of the government and not the parents.”
He explained that the university has over 19,000 students, with more than 17,000 of them from the state, noting that 70 per cent of the indigenous students are sons and daughters of peasant farmers, civil servants and petty traders.
“However, the state government has sacked a good number of its workforce; among them are parents and guardians of our students.
“These people struggle everyday against the current economic downturn to pay the fees of their children.
“Raising the school fees by over 500 per cent will, without doubt, send thousands of the students out of school,” he declared.
He stated further that a significant number of prospective students would be denied entry and this might have a devastating effect on the government’s quest to develop viable human capital in the state.
The ASUU chairman said the increase in the tuition fee would further widen the existing gap between the rich and the poor just as he pointed out that the consequences of the upward review would be unquantifiable.
This, according to him, was coming at the time when the streets were becoming unsafe in the state due to the surge in thuggery, banditry and kidnapping.
He further argued that these crimes and many other related social vices had always been associated with lack of education and job opportunities as well as truancy.
Adamu said that the purported scholarship programme unveiled by the government was a mere smokescreen to justify the increase.
He said that data from the State Scholarship and Loans Board had showed that between 2017 and 2020, only about 13.29 percent of the over 19,000 students benefited from the scholarship scheme.
He added that in 2020, students were promised laptop loans for online lectures at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic but none of the students benefited from the scheme.
The Commissioner for Education, Dr Shehu Makarfi recently confirmed the tuition fees increase in all the state -owned tertiary institutions.
Makarfi explained that the decision was to reposition the institutions to deliver quality skills and training in order to solve the 21st century challenges.
He said that KASU had been directed to increase the tuition fee from N24,000 to a minimum 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) programme had also been increased to N75,000.
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