The Chief Executive Officer of the UK charity, IA-Foundation, Mrs Ibironke Adeagbo, has warned that increasing tuition fees in Nigerian universities could compound the crisis plaguing the country’s education sector.
Speaking against the backdrop of increases in tuition and other fees by some universities in Nigeria, Adeagbo said that a country currently having some 20.2 million children out-of-school should have no business increasing fees in schools.
She told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday that increasing fees of any sort should not be an option, until Nigeria came out of the woods and was able to put every child in school.
“The increment in tuition in Unity Schools is unacceptable because it can lead to more children dropping out of school,’’ Adeagbo said, calling on the Federal Government to take measures to ensure that every Nigerian child acquired basic education.
“The government should also introduce regulatory measures soonest, to compel private schools operators to curb unnecessary demands on parents such as forcing parents to pay expensive fees for uniforms and other related items.
“The government also needs to reduce the financial entry barriers into public schools as thousands of families cannot even afford to pay basic enrollment fees.
According to her, government needs to stay true to its promise of free basic education for all in Nigeria.
The IA-Foundation founder said that Nigeria should improve education standards in public schools and introduce strategic communication measures to address the prevailing negative notion about education in public schools.
She, however, lauded the Federal Government for inviting IA-Foundation to the just-concluded annual National Summit for NGOs Intervening in the Education Sector, hosted by the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja.
Adeagbo said that her foundation’s participation in the summit had re-energised IA-Foundation’s commitment to campaigning for every Nigerian child to have access to basic education.
IA-Foundation, based in the south eastern city of Kent in England has been campaigning vigorously to promote education in Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous nation.
Nigeria has an army of out-of-school kids, especially the girl-child, prevented from classrooms because of various problems, including poverty and banditry, according to UN agency UNESCO.
The organisation is mostly active in South Western Nigeria but it has been making efforts to expand its activities to other parts of Nigeria, according to the founder. (NAN)