Stop the hike in varsity tuition fees

The essence of government is to make life affordable for her citizens by initiating and implementing economic policies and programmes geared towards upliftment of their living standard.

Section 13 of the Nigerian constitution emphasises about education and skills development and provides that every young person shall have the right to education of good quality.

However, this constitutional provision has suffered serious infringement over the years not only in our private tertiary institutions but also public schools.

A fortnight ago, a friend of mine told me that some government own Nigerian universities have hiked their registration fees to N49,000 for fresh students while returning students are to pay close to N50,000 per session. This is apart from union dues, cost of accommodation and feeding, running into additional thousands of naira.

One wonders how children of the poor who were managing to pay previously through their noses can now afford the new fees with the current economic hardship, coupled with meagre salaries been earned by their parents who are civil servants.

It is, indeed, economically unwise for any government to increase charges of public service sector without increasing the income of its workers.

Imagine a civil servant who is receiving a minimum wage of N30, 000 monthly with, at least, three children studying in different institutions, such children might be forced to drop out of school.

Most worrisome is the fact that almost all our leaders in both public and private schools who are products of free education, from elimentary to tertiary levels have been in the forefront when it comes to formulation of anti-masses policies such as the frequent increment on public services and even God given natural resources without commensurate income to the ordinary citizens.

It is mind boggling for Nigerians to be subjected to this kind of exploitation such that thousands of youths are even graduating year-in-year-out without available jobs.

There is the need for the federal government to call on the management of these tertiary institutions that have cultivated the habit of yearly increment in their registration fees to exercise restraint because their actions portend danger to the peace and tranquility of the country as many students would be forced to dropout and resort to all sorts of social vices.

The federal government needs to weigh the grave consequences of incessant increase in school fees by our public schools which will no doubt aggrevate the already tensed security situation Nigeria is facing if majority of children of the poor are frustrated out of school.

There is no gainsaying the fact that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. Our youths should not be tempted by unfriendly government policies to resort to criminality which will neither help them nor the government itself.

Nigerian youths deserve sympathy from the authorities most especially at this perilous times when their livelihood is threatened by the activities of bandits, Boko Haram, kidnappings, economic quackmire and what have you.

It is expected that a government with a listening ear will direct the management of its universities to rescind their decision and revert back to the previous fees and, if possible, reduce it to a more affordable amount for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians.

Comrade Abba Musa Muhammed,
Department of Mass Communication, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic,
Bauchi, Bauchi state