The Nigerian Senate has introduced a bill proposing a fine of N50,000 for parents who neglect to ensure their children receive primary and secondary school education. The bill, titled ‘Compulsory Free Universal Basic Education Act 2004, Section 2,’ was put forward by Senator Orji Kalu.
The proposed legislation asserts that every government in Nigeria must provide free, compulsory, and universal basic education for every child of primary and junior secondary school age. It emphasizes the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children attend and complete primary and junior secondary school education.
According to the bill, stakeholders in education at the local government level must ensure that parents or guardians fulfill their duty. The original Act suggested reprimands and fines of N2,000 for the first conviction, N5,000 for the second, and imprisonment for varying terms. However, the Senate’s proposed amendment increases the fines significantly, suggesting N20,000 for the first conviction and N50,000 for subsequent convictions.
Additionally, the bill recommends free meals for every child in the country as part of the educational initiative. The proposed amendments aim to strengthen the enforcement of compulsory education and impose stricter penalties for non-compliance.
In response to these developments, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, the Programme Coordinator for Basic Education at Reform Education, Nigeria, urged a thorough investigation into any additional charges imposed by public schools across the country.