Tuition fees in colleges and universities across the globe are hiking exponentially and this has become one of the major challenges for aspiring learners planning to pursue higher education. As a result of the increasing college tuition, more and more students are now feeling the compulsion to take heavy student loans which is eventually affecting their careers and lives adversely once they graduate. The situation seems to be even worse in developing countries like African nations. Currently, private universities all over Nigeria are charging ridiculously high fees to the students which most learners are finding it difficult to pay. However, the sad part is that the Nigerian government believes that it cannot determine how much private universities will charge students, saying that Federal universities do not charge any tuition fees.
Can Private Universities Charge Anything?
Osita Chidoka, Nigerian Minister of Aviation, said that now private universities in the country can charge any amount they want for profiting from their operations and the Federal Government is unable to take any action to prevent this.
As per a report by The Nation, Chidoka made this comment while he was trying to shield different questions from news reporters recently after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, where authorities approved the development of 9 new private universities. The minister said that all universities in Nigeria under the Federal government and mentioned that the authorities are concerned only about the standards of the institutes, especially regarding staffing and facilities.
Osita Chidoka said “Government really does not have anything to do as far as what the private institutions are charging. Tuition is free in public schools. All that is the responsibility of government is to ensure that the standards are maintained. We are to ensure that they are operating within the minimum required standard, and that is the responsibility of the NUC in terms of their facilities, staffing and so on.”
He added “The accreditation of any universities or courses has nothing to do with the fees they charge just like the private hospitals.”
Are No-Tuition Public Universities The Solution?
Nigeria’s Aviation Minister stated that students in the country have the option to pursue affordable education in public schools, declaring that none of the Federal universities in the nation charges any tuition fee. Chidoka said “As far as government is concerned, all Federal Government universities are tuition-free. Whatever the universities are charging are so minimal for some day-to-day activities: games fees, union fees and some other fees.”
He mentioned that although some school can charge some nominal fees to cover other fees, but maintained that such fees do not comprise the tuition fees. He further said “There is a university that is charging as low as N20,000, N15,000. Some charge N30, 000 to N80, 000 or so which is a composition of a number of different kinds of fees. But basically, no university owned by government is charging tuition fee.”
There are many Nigerians, particularly the learners at Nigerian public schools, who might not appreciate or even accept the minister’s views on tuition fees charged by private universities. In 2014, numerous Nigerian students from all over the nation joined in the protest against rising tuition fees. There is currently a strong need for offering affordable and quality higher education to the students and help them improve their employability and their future career.
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