OrderPaperToday – President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Tuesday, met with Heads of Supervisory bodies for tertiary institutions in the country to brainstorm on solutions to a brewing crisis in the education sector.
Speaking to representatives of the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Commission for Colleges of Education(NCCE), and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Lawan told his guests that he convened the meeting as a follow-up to an earlier engagement with the Coalition of Northern Groups – Students’ Wing.
He stated that the student group brought a complaint on plans by some institutions to increase registration fees and that there was a need to hear from the relevant agencies in order to establish what the situation is.
“Whatever situations we find ourselves, we must not do anything that will not jeopardise the position of our students particularly at a time that is so difficult.
We understand that our tertiary Institutions have need for more resources but we equally understand that our students are mostly from very poor background and we must do everything possible to protect those who are so vulnerable.”
Responding on behalf of his other colleagues, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, commended the Senate President for his intervention.
“Your concerns are shared by all of us. It will, at this point, be difficult to know exactly which Universities are violating or not. But after this meeting, we shall consult all the Universities with a template to complete and tell us exactly what charges they have.
“We understand that the Universities cannot be forced to charge uniform fees across the country because they have different demands and they come from different situations,” he added.
“Possibly a University in Lagos or Port Harcourt may charge slightly more than Universities in some rural areas. But there should be a baseline,” he said.
He further assured that “one University cannot charge 20,000 naira while the other charges 150,000 naira to Nigerian students where tuition has been free since 1978 at the undergraduate level.”
The National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), was represented by its Executive Secretary, Professor Paulinus Chijoke Okwelle; while Hajia Bilkisu Salihijo Ahmad represented the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).