By Salisu Uba Kofar-Wambai
It might sound obnoxious, as bitter as gall, if I may say this free education program by the Kano state government may not see the light of the day. Often, politicians politicise education. The concept of free education has been with us for quite a long spell. Our education has always been free. The token amount collected from the students isn’t the actual school fees. Students only pay 700 Naira per term. Is this the school fees?
And hardly could you find where a student is deprived of attending classes because he fails to settle his payment.
In fact, the school heads face punishment if they send away a student or pupil who can’t pay his fees. The only way is to persuade the student to do the needful or grant him an exclusion considering his financial plight. The money raised is always spent in the school under the watch of the PTA, and auditors come from the education ministry to ensure the money collected isn’t embezzled and is used wisely and judiciously. Prudence is always the watchword.
The school heads usually run into trouble if they’re found wanting in the area of class furniture problems, paucity of teaching aids, unrepaired broken windows and doors, non-provision of markers and chalks and what-have-you.
Now, the government has directed the schools’ authorities to stop collecting such peanuts to maintain, sustain and administer the schools in the name of free education and claimed to be giving out money to the schools as upkeep to take care of them.
The bone of contention here is that: could the government continue to provide this fund? In case of delay or non-payment by the concerned authorities, what will happen to the schools? It will be very hard if they can continue supporting the schools.
This was a similar scenario under Engr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso administration. He stopped the tertiary institutions and universities from collecting fees in the name of “free education” and couldn’t provide enough funds to run the schools.
I am not hoping and praying to have problems with the program, but at least we shall embark on something feasible. Unfortunately, the politicians are only trying to be popular with the program, to impress voters, to the detriment of the system.
Many outside the system may not get me right. And our society will see me as someone who has no sympathy or don’t like to see the children of the poor getting education, NO! It isn’t. Rather am doing this for the betterment of their education.