Ekiti govt, APC bicker on alleged plan to commercialise education
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State has urged the State Governor, Ayodele Fayose to preserve the greatest legacy the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo bequeathed to the Yoruba people, saying the recent announcement by the governor on the need for the commercialisation of basic education is a disservice to the memory of the late sage.
The party added that if the alleged commercialization of basic education is allowed to take effect, it would amount to a rape on the constitution of Nigeria which guarantees Free Universal Basic Education from primary school to JSS 3.
A statement by Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatubosun, lamented that by the decision, Fayose had marked himself out as the last bastion of conservative partisans insensitive to universal quest to acquire basic education.
He regretted that the governor had reduced all government engagements and governance itself as a concept that must be denominated in naira and kobo instead of playing a role that gave citizens hope to survive in a competitive world where education is the vehicle for social and economic mobility.
But the state government in its reaction denied the allegation that Governor Ayodele Fayose was planning to commercialise basic education in the State, saying; “APC government of Dr Kayode Fayemi killed education in the State and the Fayose-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government is trying all that it could to restore the lost glory of the State in the education sector.”
Special Assistant to the governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, in a statement on Sunday, refuted the APC claim, emphasizing that the government had no plan to commercialise basic education in the State.
Urging the governor to reduce burdens on parents he promised to help during his campaigns, Olatubosun said parents and students had become distraught over the new circular by government that primary school pupils should pay N550 examination fee while students in JSS 3 and SS2 are to pay N1,000 each.
He said: ‘this is another hardship foisted on parents who are already impoverished by the poverty-friendly administration of Fayose. Governor Fayose’s lame excuses during his recent media chat on the state media that pupils and students of free education are not always brilliant is ignorance taken too far. It reveals the lack of understanding and deep-seated contempt the governor has for education.
“Many successful professionals in the Southwest today are products of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s free education policy of the then Western Region. Therefore, we are at a loss how Fayose arrived at his conclusion.”
APC spokesman urged the governor to stop promoting policies that have potential to breed more thugs and criminals that are his favourites for political advantage, saying free education is not responsible for the falling standard of education in Ekiti State.
“The problem in education sector is brought about by the lack of will as being demonstrated by Fayose, with a long period of systemic rot especially in motivation of teachers and lack of infrastructure in the education sector.
‘The Kayode Fayemi administration tried to bring back the lost glory of education by encouraging teachers through training and incentives by paying rural posting and core subjects allowance, Christmas bonus and regular payment of salaries and allowances.
“Fayemi discouraged examination malpractices by establishing the continuing education schools with teachers to coach students who have attempted their school certificate examinations once. Apart from this, Fayemi renovated all schools in the state. All these have been jettisoned by Mr. Fayose.’
He said the governor had promoted thuggery to a way of life among the youth, regretting that this had contributed to the falling standard of education in the state through promotion of brigandage as out-of-school youths joined their mates as thugs in the governor’s convoy sharing money for their services.
But the government said it was insulting for the APC to have made reference to the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, saying; “The APC does not stand for one single ideal of Awolowo. Or would Awolowo have scrapped functional universities in preference for N3.3bn hilltop governor’s lodge as done by the APC government of Fayemi?”
The statement read in part; “The 1999 constitution of Nigeria guarantees Free Universal Basic Education from primary school to JSS 3. That is a law that no government can contravene.
“However, does the APC as a party have moral rights to speak on education?
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