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Comrade Emeka Nwokocha

By Galaxy Imanmadu

Human rights activist, journalist and Executive Director of Global Action Against Hunger, Crime and Violation of Peoples’ Rights (GAHCAVPER), Comrade Emeka Nwokocha, has sternly called on Delta state government to as a matter of urgency moderate tuition fees in private schools in the state, stating that the cost of school fees in private primary and secondary schools is inexplicably too high against the prevailing socioeconomic tumbledown and hardship confronting the state and Nigeria at large.

He frowned at the callous inclination of operators of private schools to make “outrageous profits” to the detriment of poor parents and guardians who “struggle” very hard to put their children and wards in private schools.

Comrade Nwokocha said: “Considering the harsh economic situation of the country and the resulting hardship parents go through just to provide the basic needs of their families, coupled with rising unemployment and high cost of living, it’s preposterous for the operators of private primary and secondary schools in Delta state to ‘hike up’ tuition fees with impunity while the government turn a blind eye to this odious act of exploitation. For me, no excuse would legitimatize the exorbitant school fees being charged by private schools in Delta state; to say the least, the unrealistic fee charged by private school operators is inimical to growth of education in the state.”

Asked if the government of Delta state has the locus standi to intervene in the issue and compel the private school owners to reduce tuition fees, Comrade Nwokocha retorted, “who approved the licenses for them to operate? Is it not the government? Truth is, the government of Delta state has the locus standi to regulate every business activity in the state to ensure that the motive for establishing businesses is not hinged on making outrageous profits that further inflict pains and hardship on the people.”

Continuing, Comrade Nwokocha charged Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to protect the poor masses from the injurious grip of proprietors and proprietresses of private schools who are bent on taking advantage of the poorly regulated education system in the state to make questionable profits at all cost. He stressed: “Delta state government must not gloss over this glaring act of fleecing pervading the private primary and secondary schools across the state.”

He sarcastically queried: “Why would operators of primary and secondary schools in the state have the liberty to independently ‘fix’ tuition fees without the government of Delta state having a say. It is tantamount to giving them an ‘open cheque’ to monopolize the sector. I strongly condemn it in strong terms.

Continuing, Comrade Nwokocha called on the Commissioner of Secondary and Basic Education to properly monitor how private primary and secondary schools are being run in the state with a view to moderating their policies on tuition fees and other administrative highhandedness that might be prevalent in that sector.

“That education is the catalyst for any meaning development in a country or state cannot be overemphasized, hence the Universal Basic Education Act, being a legal instrument expressly emphasized importance of education, just as it tends to holistically eradicate illiteracy, thus setting the tone for unfettered socioeconomic development of the society,” he passionately stated.

To firm up his call for reduction of tuition fees, Comrade Nwokocha said he would constantly engage the state government to take decisive action on the worrisome development so as to making education less expensive and affordable by Deltans.

His words: “I will sustain this advocacy with a petition to the Delta State House of Assembly (DTHA), calling on them to wake up to their responsibilities of protecting the interest of Deltans by drafting a law that moderates the operations of private schools and drastically reduce tuition fees in the state.

“If the state house of Assembly could achieve this task before its tenure is out, Deltans will be grateful to them, at least for listening to their plight.”

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