Ajoke Babareke, Abuja.
If developments at the just concluded 63rd meeting of National Council on Education is something to rely on, the federal government may introduce N500 and N1000 compulsory development levy at the public primary and secondary school respectively.
The Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah tasked stakeholders at the meeting to explore additional taxation for adequate funding of the sector.
The Minister gave the charge during the closing section of the 63rd meeting of the National Council on Education held in Abuja.
The Minister said the additional taxation will end endless cry for funding of the Nigerian education sector.
” I added that we should explore additional taxation for education in Nigeria to end endless cry for funding of education in Nigeria “.
A major approval was initially made in the communique for the payment of N500 and N1000 respectively as compulsory development funds by Primary and secondary school students.
A delagate raised objection and said the approval violates the free education mandate programme of the Universal Basic Education Commission as stated in its Universal Basic Education Act of 2004.
Responding, the Minister of State for Education said the approval should be allowed to pass through policy stages as the council strategise on ways to increase funding for the sector.
The Permanent Secretary, Architect Sonny Echono said parents and pupils should take responsibilities to make contributions towards funding of their education ,he added that the approval should be removed from the communiqué and be subjected to further discussion.
On suggested sources of adequate funding for education, the Council approved the establishment of Education Bank and Students Loan Boards by States at concessionary interest rate to allow students gain easy access to fund.
The meeting also approved that Education Fund should be established by all States of the Federation with special emphasis on funding Teacher Development and Secondary Education.
The council also said establishment of a Special Intervention Fund for persons with Special Needs should be made by all states.
On separation of Religious Studies at the basic education level, the Council approved separated curriculum for Christian Religious Studies CRS, Islamic Studies IS , and National Values for implementation in Primary and Junior Secondary Schools nationwide.
The Council urged the Federal, States, the FCT and relevant Stakeholders to collaborate and develop a policy on safety and security in schools.
Also contained in the communiqué was an approval for the re-establishment of State Education Development Fund (SEDFund) and other funds to create additional and sustainable funding source to improve education service delivery in post-basic schools for the achievement of 2030 Agenda.
The Council urged States, the Federal Capital Territory and all Local Government Areas and owners of schools to, as a matter of urgency augment the services of uniformed security officers with registered Vigilante groups and Community Neighborhood Watch.
The Communiqué was adopted by the Council by a motion moved by Gombe State and seconded by Rivers State.