He who opens a school door closes a prison-Victor Hugo. Education is one of the factors that contribute to the development of a nation, without which a nation cannot experience progress. Nigeria as a nation has put in place several measures and policies by past and present administration to improve the quality of education in Nation.
One of the recommendations to improve education in the Nation is free education and low tuition fee, so as to encourage more participation. It should be recalled that in 1940 , Sidney Philipson, the financial secretary of the Nigerian government was appointed to review grants in-aid to education, this led to the recommendation of a Universal, free compulsory educational system at the primary and secondary level. Most developing and developed Nations have extended this to the higher institutions, countries such as Norway, Finland and Germany. The recommendation was launched at different regions of Nigeria, excluding the Northern region.
However, it is saddening that education in Nigeria is becoming a mirage for the lower citizens; masses who could not afford high tuition fee. The Nigerian educational system is becoming elite oriented than public oriented. An insight into the last education summit in Ondo State has created uproar, as self-sponsored student, orphans, and students whose parents cannot afford high tuition fee has been throw into an hypertensive state, without hope of furthering their education, many will drop out, others may involve themselves in illicit trade and some might involve themselves in criminal activities.
Research has shown that Ondo State has been dropping in academic performance compared to her counterpart like Osun state and Lagos state, which still maintains a higher educational standard. Although, primary and secondary education in public schools are free but not absolutely free as student still pay some fees. This however raises the following questions; must the tuition fees in the tertiary institutions be raised beyond what the masses can bear? How as the previous administration in the state financed tertiary institutions without increase in tuition fees? Will the hike in tuition fees be the ultimate solution to having a qualitative education?
Recently, the Governor of Ondo State, Arakurin Rotimi Akeredolu said that what students pays as tuition fees cannot purchase a good shoes. Currently, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic pays over fifty thousand naira as tuition fee, Ondo State University of Science and Technology pays over eighty thousand naira, University of Medical Sciences pays over eighty thousand naira and Adekunle Ajasin University, which is rated as one of the best state university in Nigeria pays over twenty thousand naira.
During the last convocation in the state, at Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko, the state governor made it cleared that the tuition fee will be increased but it will not be up to a million. This has raised alarm as to whether the institution is a private institution or public institution. The recent meeting of the student union executives with Adekunle Ajasin governing council, in which two hundred thousand naira was proposed as the tuition fee has raised chaos in the heart of parents and students.
The solution to qualitative education in Ondo state is not increment in school fee but rather a structure should be made internally on how institution can generate funds internally vis-à-vis government sub venture. More money is not the end to poverty, so also increment in tuition fees will not be the ultimate solution to quality education. Tertiary institutions should be trained and equipped to generate funds, corruption and financial misappropriation should be shun.
Ondo State thinks education is met for every member of the society and not just for the privileged, If the door to affordable tuition fee is closed then we should expect government to build more prisons.