Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has established in a statement released through his Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Muyiwa Adekeye, that his administration is not ready to stop free education in the state.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) governor said this in reaction to the introduction of nominal fees by the state Ministry of Education through the principals.
The governor maintained that the principal’s verdict is inconsistent with his government’s policy, and thus all monies that may have been collected from students be refunded forthwith.
The Governor had assured that education would be free from primary to secondary level for all indigenes.
At an extraordinary meeting of the Kaduna State Executive Council on Monday, 7th November 2022, it was further pressed that the provision of free education for the first 12 years of schooling remains and will stand as a legacy achievement of the state government.
In the statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday, Adekeye explained that the extraordinary meeting of the state Executive council discussed the memo from the Ministry of Education on sustainable funding for the maintenance of school facilities.
The Governor’s aide noted that the state government will continue to implement the free senior secondary education policy faithfully and discharge the primary responsibility for its public schools.
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He said: “The governor stated that free education is the pillar of the Kaduna State Government’s (KDSG) commitment to human capital development and social mobility for the children of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
‘’With careful implementation since 2015, this policy guarantees every child access to education from the first year of primary school to the final year of senior secondary school or technical/vocational school.
“Free education, up to the completion of senior secondary school, reflects the government’s abiding belief in promoting equality of opportunity and expanding access to education as a lever of social mobility.
“KDSG’s deep conviction that government must provide free education up to senior secondary level or its equivalent has been expressed in legal provisions that make it compulsory for every child to go to school for 12 uninterrupted years since the financial obstacle represented by school fees has been removed.
“The extraordinary meeting of the Kaduna State Executive Council discussed a memo from the Ministry of Education on sustainable funding for the maintenance of school facilities.
“The Executive Council stated that the Kaduna State Government will continue to implement the free senior secondary education policy faithfully and to discharge the primary responsibility for its public schools.”
The Council recalled that in 2015, the government explicitly banned paying PTA fees and other levies in public schools to ensure that the free education policy delivers education without burdening parents with hidden fees or levies.
The council, in this regard, observed that the circular issued by the Ministry of Education to school principals on collecting nominal fees is inconsistent with government policy and is thus invalid.
The statement added: “The circular from the Ministry of Education to the heads of schools, dated 1st November 2022, is therefore rescinded with immediate effect, and all monies that may have been collected should be refunded forthwith.
“The statement added that the Council noted that community participation and ownership in the administration of public schools is what led to the creation, by law, of School Management Boards and School-Based Management Committees with membership drawn from all concerned stakeholders.
“Accordingly and noting that some alumni associations, community groups, charities and persons of means may be interested in further supporting particular schools, the Council directed the Ministry of Education to develop a suitable framework to guide school heads, parents, old students’ associations, communities and other donors that may want to contribute to the development of any public school in the State.
“The framework is necessary in the interest of accountability and transparency, it will be widely debated by stakeholders and approved by the State Executive Council before subsequent dissemination as an official directive to the Principals and Heads of Schools”.