Article from www.nigeriasolidarity.org --- Campaign for Democratic and Workers' Rights in Nigeria
No to tuition fees in our universities
Government should meet demands of university teachers
Statement of Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Bosah Chinedu
06 July 2006
The Education Right Campaign (ERC), affiliated to the Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights in Nigeria, is stoutly opposed to the planned introduction of tuition fees in Federal Universities as being proposed by the government through the National Universities Commission (NUC).
Besides this, the ERC is also opposed to the ongoing commercialisation of education and the entire anti-poor neo-liberal reform of privatisation, deregulation, commercialisation, cuts in social spending etc., which has not only been responsible for decay in the education system as well as other social services, but has also kept taking education further away the reach of the poor masses.
Already students pay exorbitant charges under different guises in our universities and other higher institutions of learning; the situation, which has made education expensive for the children of the poor. The introduction of the tuition fees will only further make education available to those who can pay for it and deepen the entrenched “cash and carry” education system in the country.
The ERC aver strongly that education is a right, not a privilege. It is a social service that must be adequately funded from the collectively owned resources of the society because of its central importance to the socio-economic development of any nation.
Students and Teachers united
The ERC also supported and solidarised with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on its concluded week warning strike. We call on the Federal Government to immediately reinstate the 49 wrongly sacked lecturers of the University of Ilorin, as ordered by the Federal High Court Ilorin, implement the 2001 agreements reached with the union and meet the demands of all academic and non-academic workers unions in our higher institutions of learning.
Take the money from big business
The ERC states fundamentally that there is no justification for crises prevalent today from primary to University level as Nigeria earns $150million per day from crude oil alone. ERC hereby demand that the governments at all levels must commit public resources to the provision of free and qualitative education from primary to university levels as contained in the Chapter 2 Section 18 of the Nigerian Constitution. ERC strongly believes that with the fabulous wealth of the country, it is practicable to fund education at all levels. The government must also use the public resources for the provision of health care, roads, electricity, water and other basic needs for the poor masses.
Time for action
We call on student, labour and pro-masses’ organisations to protest the planned introduction of tuitions fees, call on government to meet the demands of ASUU and other education workers and demand the adequate funding of education at levels.
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