The Federal Ministry of Education on Wednesday debunked the news trending on social media that the Federal Government had approved the hike in tuition fees of Nigerian universities to N350,000.
Mr Sonny Echono, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry made the clarification at a symposium in Abuja.
Echono, who said the Federal Government was not planning to increase the tuition fees, urged Nigerians to remain calm on the issue.
The symposium has its theme: “The Right to Education means the Right to a Qualified Teacher’’.
“The Federal Government did not and has no intention of introducing new tuition fees in our public universities not to mention the figure to N350, 000.
“What is true is that the present administration is committed to guaranteeing the quality of education.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the ministry of education along with the ministry of finance to jointly organise a workshop that will inform on a very sustainable and workable recommendation of funding education in Nigeria.
“And to this end, we have been engaging various stakeholders including ASUU who can come up with a very useful contribution that will bring all these recommendations achievable.
Echono added that the ministry was working toward re-establishing the education bank to address the role of education funding as the government cannot do it alone.
He said the role of the education bank would be to give loan at a low-interest rate, saying this would not be limited to students alone but also parents.
On the right to education, Echono said every child has the fundamental right to quality education, adding that the ministry had developed strategies to ensure pupils and students with special needs were carried along.
Echono said that the National Teachers Institute (NTI) had also concluded plans to train and develop the capacity of primary and secondary school teachers in the 36 states and FCT.
He said that the right to education was a sine qua non to national development, saying the Ministerial Strategic Plan (2016 to 2019) had been designed to guarantee expanded access to all levels of education.
Echono said that the plan was geared toward providing adequately the necessary infrastructure and facilities to ensure that the right to the basic level and standards were maintained.
He, therefore, called on teachers to upgrade themselves as effective from January 2020, any teacher who did not present the prerequisite qualifications would be pushed out of the system.
Echono urged the teachers to take advantage of the professional examinations made available in 35 states and online resource materials to guide them as a teacher.
He, however, called on states governments owing teachers’ salaries to take a step in ensuring that teachers were paid as when due and as well motivate teachers adequately for optimal performance.
Earlier, Mrs Justina Ibe, the Director, Education Support Service of the ministry, said the Federal Government had not relented in its efforts to ensure that the teaching profession was provided with qualified personnel.
Ibe said that this informed the Ministerial Strategic Plan which was now being implemented gradually with positive results.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the symposium was part of activities to commemorate the World Teachers Day to hold on Oct. 5, to celebrate the contributions of teachers to nation-building. (NAN)