Akwa Ibom House Leader makes case for free Tuition, examination fees
…as bill scales through second reading
By Amadie Akpabio, Uyo
There is a renewed hope for students studying in public primary and secondary schools in the state, following speedy attention granted by the State House of Assembly on a Bill on “Free Tuition and Examination fees for Public Primary and Secondary Schools in Akwa Ibom”.
The said bill scaled through its second reading at plenary, Thursday, 23 January, 2020.
Sponsor of the Bill and Member representing Oruk Anam State Constituency Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan, while leading the debate for the Bill to be read the second time on floor of the house said, the Bill seeks to provide for free education, including payment of tuition and examination fees for all the pupils and students from Primary one to senior secondary three in the State.
Presenting the letters of the bill, the lawmaker said: “bringing this Bill, I have taken into consideration the fact that the 2005 law only stops at JSS3,
therefore the aim of expanding the scope of coverage is to ensure that there is no lacuna in the law and nobody wake up tomorrow to do what is not supposed to be done’.
He noted that the bill primarily seeks to cover those grounds and also ensure that there is high level standard of teaching and learning in the schools.
According to Hon. Kierian, “I have also take into consideration that there’s an existing law in Akwa Ibom State which was signed by then Obong Victor Attah in 2005 and that law is a law for compulsory free unversal basic education in Akwa Ibom State. That law covers from primary one to JSS3, that is where it stop, because the definition of universal basic education in that bill covers up to only junior secondary three, it did not cover up to SS1 to SS3.
“But the practice in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Speaker, there exist a policy of government that all primary and secondary school pupils and students enjoys free education up to SS3 level. But the law did not cover up to that level, the intention of this law is to provide a framework to cover up to SS3, so that a Governor may not come and can wake up to say the law he had provide only for Universal basic education that covers only up to JSS3”, he added.
He pointed out that the Bill, when passed into law, shall ensure quality education in line with the standards and norms of high scholarly learning.
Under the law, the Assemblyman who is known for vibrancy, said a child or parent shall not be liable to pay any kind of fee or charges in any public school, while any school or person who contravenes the law shall be liable to disciplinary actions in line with the Public Service Rules applicable in the State Public Service.
He appealed for support from other members of the House to enable the Bill to see the light of the day.
The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey while responding, commended Sir Akpan for the Bill, referred it to the House Committee on Education for in-depth studies and to report back to the House within one month.
Recall that at Tuesday plenary, January 21, 2020 “A bill seeking for a law to regulate and Control the Physical/urban and Regional Planning.
Activities, the Establishment of Urban Regional Planning Agency and Area Planning Authorities in Akwa Ibom State and other matter therewith”
Sponsored by Rt. Hon. (Sir) Udo Kierian Akpan has equally scale through second reading