The Kaduna State Government has announced an increase of tuition fees in all its tertiary institutions to reposition them to deliver quality skills and training to tackle 21st century challenges.
The institutions are Kaduna State University; Nuhu Bamali Polytechnic, Zaria; Kaduna State College of Education, Gidan Waya; Shehu Idris College of Health Sciences, Makarfi; and Kaduna State College of Nursing and Midwifery.
The Commissioner of Education, Dr. Shehu Makarfi, made the clarification while addressing newsmen in Kaduna on Monday.
Makarfi explained that the government had pegged a minimum fee, but had, however, directed managements of the institutions to determine what students in humanities, sciences, residents and non-residents could pay.
He said that KASU had been directed to increase the tuition fees from between N24,000 and N26,000 to a minimum consolidated fee of N150,000.
He added that the minimum fees for National Diploma and Higher National Diploma programmes had been pegged at a minimum of N75,000 and N100,000 respectively.
The Commissioner also said the National Certificate in Education programmes in COE Gidan Waya was equally increased to N75,000.
He said the tuition fees were reviewed upward in line with current realities and for the institutions to be able to improve performance in Information Technology (IT), and research, to meet global demand.
Makarfi said: “We want our tertiary institutions to offer courses like IT, cyber security, artificial intelligence, satellite technology and other skills that are in high demand globally.
“Government is ready to invest resources in tertiary institutions as long as they are ready to go along with the dynamics in society and the world at large.”
Makarfi added, however, that the Nigerian constitution, national and Kaduna State education policies have provided for free and compulsory basic education.
According to Makarfi, the Kaduna State Government is currently providing free education from pre-primary to senior secondary schools, but that tertiary education has to be paid for because there is nowhere in the world that it is free.
He said: “In 2005, KASU Management proposed over N60,000 as tuition fee, but the government at that time said indigenes should pay between N24,000 and N26,000, while the government augments the balance annually.
“The government was only able to pay the balance for the first two years and had to stop, leaving the university in a deep financial crunch.”
Makarfi pointed out that KASU Management was finding it difficult to run the school due to inadequate funds.
He stressed that the N26,000 tuition fee in the 21st century was grossly inadequate to generate the needed funds to run the school, improve facilities and capacity to accommodate more students and deliver the best of training and research.
The commissioner further noted that KASU could not accommodate the quantum of students that applied for various programmes in the institution due to issues of carrying capacity.
He said most of the applicants were being forced to go to alternative institutions, particularly private universities, where they pay a minimum of N750,000 as tuition fee.
Makarfi said: “So, why don’t we create an enabling environment, increase the carrying capacity of KASU for our children to remain at home, learn at home and pay less?
“I want to tell our parents and other stakeholders that despite the increased tuition fees, we are still subsiding compared to what other universities are collecting. Students in our tertiary institutions pay the least fees in this part of the country.
“What we want from the general public is their understanding and cooperation for us to improve the quality of education at tertiary institutions.”
He said for indigent students to pay the new fees without difficulty, the government had introduced needs-based scholarship and increased the amount from less than N20,000 to more than N100,000.
Makarfi added that the state government equally introduced merit-based foreign scholarships for exceptionally brilliant students.
He said: “Also, a loan scheme is also introduced for those who may not meet the needs-based criteria for scholarship to access and pay back in a future date without interest.
“Government will continue to play its role of employing more lecturers, improving the infrastructure, and fund research and other services.”
NAN recalls that students of KASU had rejected the increase during a meeting with the school management on April 22.
Abdulrazak Shuaibu, a medical student, who spoke on behalf of others, said the tuition fees were increased from N26,000 to N150,000 for students in Faculty of Arts, Management and Social Sciences.
Shuaibu, a former President of Kaduna State Students Union, added that students of Faculty of Medicine from the state would now pay N300,000 as against N24,000, while non indigenes would pay N500,000.