Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, on Tuesday said that the Federal Government will harmonize tuition fees in all federal Universities to stop the arbitrary charge of fees by some university authorities.
“Since the protests started, we have summoned the authorities of the universities and sat down with them and we are going to harmonise everything. “Because, I think it is N45,000 that is the maximum that should be charged. I know in some places, there has been other arrangement. “But the ministry would harmonise everything and I believe there will be no more protests over fees. Universities of Lagos, Ibadan and Port Harcourt were recently shut down following students’ protests over increase in fees, lack of water and power supply on the campuses”.
Adamu said that the Federal Government was discussing with management of the affected universities, adding that efforts were also ongoing to introduce harmonised fees for all federal universities. Adamu, who decried the
excessive fees charged by private tertiary institutions in the country, explained that the government does not have the power to regulate fees in that sector.
“First, I will agree with you that they charge exorbitant fees. But I wish I had the power to do something about it. If I had the power I would stop them. “But I think the thing is being treated like a market where you buy what you can afford. But I do believe the government should intervene. On the industrial peace that has prevailed in the education sector since the inception of the Buhari administration, Adamu attributed it to partnership with the unions”.
He stressed that the government would strengthen partnership with all the unions in the sector to sustain the existing industrial harmony.
“ASUU and the other unions are very patriotic people who are concerned about the state of education in Nigeria. And most of what they do is motivated by this belief. “So, as far as I am concerned, they have got fellow travellers in this administration. “I believe the president and his ministers are really passionate about education. And they would want to do everything to make education succeed. “ ASUU and the administration are going in the same line. So, we would not have a ground to disagree. “We are not waiting for unions to strike before we go to them. So, we are already making the approach to all the unions. So, I think there would be no strikes”.
The minister pledged government’s commitment to release N200 billion annually for the implementation of the NEEDS Assessment Report, to enhance the quality and standard of tertiary education. He added that fate of tertiary education depended on the full implementation of the NEEDS Assessment Report, which according to him, “this government is committed to deliver’’.