The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Zone D, South-West, has asked the Federal Government to reopen schools so that young people and students in the country can be engaged.
The student body in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kazeem Olalekan Israel, said the government was making students pay for its years of refusal to fund education.
The statement reads, “It is on record that as an association, we have been calling on the government at all levels to properly fund the educational sector.
“As an association, we are disturbed that the Federal Government is not ready to stop putting the brunt of their failure and incompetence on the people which is evident in the guidelines that were issued in line with school reopening.
“Considering the guidelines and the reality that is on the ground today in Nigeria, one cannot but feel embarrassed with the conduct of a government that has been feeding on deceit since inception and this is not unconnected from the fact that there is no educational institution in the country today that can meet the guidelines. The reason cannot be far-fetched; the government’s failure to invest in education.”
NANs called on the government to ensure funding of the education sector and to waive 60 to 70 per cent of tuition fees for students nationwide to cushion the effect of the pandemic.
It added, “Government at all level should pay serious attention to the educational sector by properly funding it.
“Academic activities whether virtually or physically should commence in our educational institutions with immediate effect.
“As a pre-condition to commencement of classes, government should liaise with ASUU, ASUP, COEASU and NANS as regards what must be put in place for the commencement of classes. Government must liaise with National Universities Commission, National Board for Technical Education and the Universal Basic Education Board including the Post-Primary Schools Board and all relevant academic bodies to make sure the session/semester is streamlined in order to make up for the lost time due to the lockdown.
“Government must provide a waiver for all Nigerian students (tertiary, secondary and primary) in the form of scholarship for a session or slash the fees payable by 60%/70%. This would help cushion the effects of the lockdown on parents that lost their jobs and means of livelihood and businesses. It would also serve as a palliative for students whose parents/guardians means of livelihood have been cut-short as a result of the lockdown.
“TETFUND should consider funding of selected students across all tertiary institutions in the country with innovative ideas just the way lecturers are being sponsored for conferences/symposia.
“The Federal Government should heed to the call of the House of Representatives by setting up a N15bn COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Tertiary Institutions.
“Nigerian students should be prepared to mount pressure on the government to meet our demands towards school reopening as anything other than this shall not be accepted.”