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Anambra State Gov’t announces free education

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By Mercy Kelani

Previously, students do not pay tuition fees, except mandatory levies.

Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the Governor of Anambra State aborted payments of tuition and other fees in all government schools. He announced this at Premier Primary School, Obosi, Idemili North Council Area and Ado Girls Secondary School in Onitsha. Previously, public schools students do not pay any tuition fee, but the students were usually made to pay certain levies. For instance, students in JSS1 to JSS3 were made to pay the sum of N5,000 to N8,000 for levies while students in SSS1 to SSS3 were made to pay the sum of N8,000 to N12,000 as their charges.

With the intervention of Governor Soludo, all forms of charges, apart from the tuition-free education, in all public schools at nursery and primary levels are totally prohibited. Also, the charges between N5,000 to N8,000 paid by the JSS1 to JSS3 students in public schools have been abolished completely. Likewise the sum of N8,000 to N12,000 paid by the Senior Secondary students in SSS1 to SSS3 has been significantly reduced to the sum of N5,000 for all costs or levies that are required to be paid by the students.

There would be accessibility to quality education.

Henceforth, students in SSS1 to SSS3 categories are not to pay above N5,000. Thus, N5,000 will be used as the stipulated levy for all operational cost to support the school by the state government. According to the Governor, it was said that the administration under him is focused and keen on the fulfilment of an inclusive education. During his speech, he stated that children in Nursery level and junior secondary school level should not pay any fees, both school fees and any levy, to gain standard education in the state.

He said that this system is to return to the equal access to education for all children, whether rich or poor; without considering backgrounds, this will serve as a means of competing fairly. With this system, he affirmed that there would be accessibility to education, and no child of school age will be left out from enjoying the benefits of standard education. Henceforth, there is free education for nursery classes and JSS classes in the state.

Public education as a model in the academic sector.

Furthermore, access to quality education for all children promotes their full development in terms of physical and mental abilities, talents and personality. Under the constitution of the state, anyone that fails to adhere to the pronouncement will be penalized. Following the Governor’s pronouncement, the pupils in Nursery and Primary levels, including students in JSS classes will be prohibited from paying any charges in Anambra government schools at the commencement of the new academic session 2023/2024, while the sum of N5000 will be paid by the senior secondary students.

Governor Soludo stressed that the constitution of Nigeria states that government must practice free and accessible education to all children at the primary and secondary levels, when it is possible. The Governor emphasized that in terms of infrastructure, government-sponsored public schools are seen at the lowest state among the four categories of schools in Anambra. He said that there would be a huge revolution by his administration to set-up public education as a model in the academic sector. There would be rebuilding of all infrastructure and investment by the government in coming months.

Collaboration with communities is essential to achieve the goal.

Based on the Governor’s statement, Anambra state is known to have the highest number of entrepreneurs on the continent. He highlighted that if the children are not given the privilege of quality education the future of the State is not certain. The communities were apologized to by the Governor as he sought their collaboration to build a qualitative educational system, which will be advantageous to the children in the State. Some of the challenges facing the schools in Anambra State were highlighted by Mrs. Chineke Okocha, the Principal of Ado Girls Secondary School and Mrs. Udoji Vivian, the Head Teacher of Premier Primary School.

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