The House of Representatives will list for second reading, a bill to include mandatory free education from primary to tertiary level in the 1999 Constitution.
The Bill, sponsored by Rep. Kpam Jimin Sokpo(PDP-Benue), is entitled: “An Act To Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide that the Fundamental Objectives and Direct Principles of State Policy Relating To Educational Objectives Guarantees The Right To Education For all Citizens; and For Related Matters, 2020.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (in this Bill referred to as “the Principal Act”), is altered as set out in this Bill.
“Section 18 of the Principal Act is amended by deleting subsection (3) of that section in its entirety and replacing it with a new subsection (3) as follows:
(3) The government shall provide-
(a) free, compulsory and universal primary education;
(b)free quality secondary education;
(c) free adult literacy programme;
(d) free university education when practicable; and
(e) any other educational programmes to eradicate illiteracy and educate all citizens”, it states.
According to the piece of legislation, “This Bill may be cited as the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (Alteration)(Right to Education) Bill, 2020.”
It explains that the Bill seeks to ” alter the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to make it mandatory for the provision of education for all citizens at all levels and provide for the Right to Education of all Nigerian Citizens for the purpose of eradicating illiteracy in Nigeria.”
Though the Constitution mention compulsory literacy for all Nigerians, as the policy of the government, it doesn’t make it mandatory for the State to do so.
The Bill when passed into law, is expected to change the narrative.