By Funmilayo Adeyemi
Abuja – The Federal Government has promised to undertake the services of some insurance companies and brokers for a comprehensive insurance policy to the 104 unity colleges in the country in a bid to increase school enrollment.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who made this known on Sunday at a news conference in Abuja, said the insurance policy had become Federal Government’s Official policy.
Adamu said the insurance policy of the ministry had been on since 2014 with the payment of N5,000 by students of all unity colleges in the country but had experienced some hitches which had now been resolved.
He said with the policy, enrolment in all unity colleges would have increased by at least 20 per cent b 2020.
He said that a Student Welfare Insurance Schemes (SWIS) had been put in place for students of unity colleges where each student would pay N5,000 per session.
According to him, the idea of the SWIS is to ensure that once a child is admitted into any of our unity schools, that child will never drop out of school on account of loss of parents or guardians responsible for the payment of his or her school fees.
“In more specific terms, the policy provides that in the case of death of a student, the parents or sponsor will be given a one-off payment in the sum of N500,000.
” In the case of death of parents or sponsor, the student will be paid the sum of N500,000 per session for a maximum of N2.5 million.
“Also, in the event of death of student, parent or sponsor, the sum of N50,000 will be provided for burial expenses.
” In other words, the insurance company takes over the payment of the child’s school fees from where the parents or guardian stopped.”
The minister added that a comprehensive fire and general peril cover for buildings was given to three insurance underwriters along with brokers, saying that each of the underwriters will cover schools in two geo-political zones.
He explained that the total premium to be paid to the three underwriters and brokers would amount to N198 million for the 104 unity colleges.
According to him, this will provide a total cover of N900 million only per school for building and N200 million per school for content.
Adamu also said a total premium of N70 million would be paid to the underwriters and brokers for a comprehensive insurance cover for the vehicles of the unity schools while the total number of vehicles to be covered would be 326 with a total value of N947,260,000.
The minister said that by 2020, the budget would factor in a carrying capacity expansion project in some of the unity schools that need to expand their carrying capacity.
He, therefore, called on parents to honour the obligation on a yearly basis in line with government policy as the N5,000 premium would be paid with the school fees.
Adamu also called on the insurance companies, Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and principals of unity schools to take out time to explain the policy to all parties concerned.
He, however, promised to ensure that all insurance companies involved in the scheme honour their obligations as and when due.
Similarly, Mrs Stella Marris-Omu, Principal, Federal Government Girls College, Bwari, said it was a very disheartening thing to find a child who was aspiring to greater heights not coming back to school because no one can pay the fees.
She said the policy would help cushion the burden of not being able to pay school fees by some parents.
“The process of students welfare insurance scheme came on in 2014, and when I got to the first school where I was principal, I found that it was already a policy and parents were paying.
” But unfortunate some didn’t see the need to pay as they felt they do not need to insure their children because of religion and some felt they didn’t have that kind of money and some also felt it was a waste of funds.
” However, I have had students who had the need after their sponsors passed on to be catered for by the insurance company.
“But unfortunately, some students have not had the opportunity for the policy to be implemented when they lost any of the parent or sponsor.
“I also know some colleges had insurance when they had fire incidences, thunderstorms and the like being applied to their circumstances.
” With this insurance policy, I know that problems of out of school children will be solved,” she said.