by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
The Kaduna State Government has reaffirmed its commitment to providing free primary, secondary and technical/vocational education, to every child resident in the state.
An extraordinary meeting of the Kaduna State Executive Council, held on Monday, 7th November, 2022, described the provision of free education for the first 12 years of schooling as a legacy achievement of the State Government.
This was contained in a statement signed by Muyiwa Adekeve, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media & Communication, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday.
The Council meeting, chaired by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, stated that free education is the pillar of the Kaduna State Government’s commitment to human capital development and social mobility for the children of the most vulnerable residents of the state.
“With careful implementation, since 2015, this policy guarantees every child access to education from the first year of primary school to the completion of 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 has an obligation to 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,” it stated.
The Executive Council stated that, the Kaduna State Government will continue to faithfully implement the free senior secondary education policy and to discharge the primary responsibility for its public schools.
The Council recalled that, in 2015, the government explicitly banned payment of PTA fees and other levies in public schools, in order to ensure that the free education policy actually delivers education without burdening parents with hidden fees or levies.
Therefore, the Council observed that the circular issued by the Ministry of Education to school principals on collection of nominal fees is not consistent with government policy, and is thus invalid.
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 State Executive Council has 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.
“This framework is necessary in the interest of accountability and transparency. Such a framework 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,” it noted.