By EDDIE OSIFELO
THE Government needs rethinking, analysis and a strategic approach to implementing Free Fee Education, due to the tight fiscal position they are faced with.
Minister of Education and Human Resources, Lannelle Tanangada explained this in Parliament earlier this week in response to the Public Accounts Committee report.
“Our education system still has challenges that my Ministry is endeavoring to overcome these in a systematic and planned manner to ensure that we do truly achieve our commitment to the global Sustainable Development Goals for education.
“Thus at this point we need not hasten the redirection policy on fee-free education at all levels of our entire education system, rather initially focus on getting the basic education years fully and effectively funded,” she said.
“We should consider our financial capacity and look ahead how we may be able to expedite growing our economy at a much faster rate than the current – this way we may be able to sustain our Government expenditures, not only on education, but also other key development areas such as infrastructure, health and rural development – just to mention a few.
“An ambitious Education agenda such as free-fee education from Early Childhood Education to University level (although desirable) require sound policies and planning, as well as efficient implementation arrangements, which cannot be achieved overnight or during global pandemics as we currently experience now.
“We must also endeavour to consolidate the current education system so that we can improve on those specific areas that have been well identified as requiring immediate financial attention, that is to ensure full access for all students in the basic education years while having quality teaching and learning,” she said.
“We need to determine the full cost of a truly full fee-free education system, that to determine the cost to the country and tax-payers, to see if we could truly afford to provide a fully free education to our current and future generations,” she added.
Furthermore, she said her Ministry has been working on a new and future looking Education Bill, to replace the current legislation that has been in place since independence.
She said this work includes a completely reviewed and revised legislative framework that will herald in much needed reform to enable our system to manage the system in a more contemporary, accountable and efficient system.
“It will enable us to provide an improved basis to move towards the fully free education at some stage in the future. I eagerly look forward to providing more details of this in due course,” she added.