We’ll set up negotiation team on hike in school fees – FG

The federal government has disclosed that it would set up a formal negotiation team between the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) and relevant stakeholders to look into recent hike in fees in schools across the country.

The Minister of State for Education, Dr. Yusuf Sununu, made the disclosure Friday in Abuja at a news conference to herald the commemoration of the International Day to Protect Education from Attacks.

Sununu said hike in school fees could be a core factor leading to attacks in schools, hence the need to look into the area to avert further attacks.

He said, “So many areas that require finances are being attacked but we must also look at the constitutional provisions. The constitutional provisions expressly state that there should be free education, but with a caveat ‘when the government can afford’ and that is why it also comes as voluntary contributions by all stakeholders.

“When we say safety in schools, it is a collective responsibility. So, we are going to encourage formal negotiations. Where we cannot provide, it is to encourage PTA and relevant institutions so that we can agree to a term that is acceptable to all of us.

The minister said further that the 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 (IDPs) camps as well as providing relevant information on threat assessments to the schools at all levels.

“The Federal Ministry of Education, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, has 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 is expected to emphasise the need for collaboration and focus on school safety policy for implementation guidance by all stakeholders.”

According to him, the ministry is key in the Renewed Hope agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in moving the country on the right track.