The issue has been lingering for a long time but past administration kept sweeping it under the carpet. The tuition fees that Kaduna state-owned tertiary institutions were charging were grossly inadequate to run them. But no one wanted to bell the cat—until the Malam Nasir El-Rufai government came to address the problem.
In 2005, the Governing Council of Kaduna State University (KASU) had approached the Makarfi administration, requesting to be given approval for an upward review of tuition fees, from N26,000 to N65,000. According to the Council, the increase will improve the general administration of the school and enhance academic excellence. The government bought the argument but instead of allowing the university to charge the proposed fees, the administration asked KASU to continue charging the old tuition fees of N26,000. The government paid the balance of N39,000 for each KASU student.
However, the administration couldn’t cope after two years. From then onwards, KASU had been lying on a “sick bed’’, seeking ways of generating the required funds to run the university without much success. In February 2021, the University made a request to the Kaduna State Executive Council to assist them in the payment of liabilities worth N290,000,000.00.
Apart from KASU, other Kaduna state-owned tertiary institutions like College of Education at Gidan Waya, Kafanchan, Shehu Idris College of Health Science and Technology at Makarfi, Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic Zaria and the Kaduna State College of Nursing and Midwifery that has campuses in Kaduna, Pambeguwa and Kafanchan were more or less in the same predicament. So, the government decided to holistically address the problem by increasing tuition fees across board. Going by the increase, each KASU student is now expected to pay N150,000 per session.
Expectedly, the decision was greeted by protests and demonstrations in some quarters while rational minds supported government’s action. In fact, the increase is minimal compared to what some state varsities or private institutions are charging. In some cases, the latter charge between N400,000 and N600,000 for science courses. For example, 100 level students are expected to pay N184, 500 at the Uthman Bin Affan College of Health Sciences and Technology, a private-owned institution located in Kaduna. In 200 level, they will pay N87,000.00 and at 300 level, they are supposed to pay N284,500. At the end of the three-year course, a student must have paid N556,000.00 before graduating with a Diploma!
However, the Kaduna State Government has devised measures to help the students cope with the fees increase. Right now, the Kaduna State Scholarship and Loans Board has three categories of scholarships; this include the Need based scholarship for indigent students whose parents cannot afford the fees, the Meri based scholarship for brilliant students who will be sponsored and the Disability Scholarship for the physically challenged. Apart from these three categories of sponsorships, there is the loans window, whereby students can secure loans to finance their education and pay back after graduating and securing a job.
Already the State Ministry of Education, the Scholarship and Loans Board, officials of FCMB and representatives of the students’ affairs of all the tertiary institutions of the state, have deliberated on modalities to access the scholarship and loan. In fact, the state’s social register has been forwarded to the Scholarship and Loans Board to serve as a guide to determine those eligible for the Need based scholarship.
In spite of the increase in tuition fees, Kaduna State Government is determined to see that every student and all eligible candidates, get access to tertiary education because it is the greatest human capital development asset that any citizen can possess.