A student pressure group, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), has berated the Federal Government for the seven-day warning strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), accusing the government of insincerity in restructuring the country’s education system.
According the ERC in a press statement made available to OSUN DEFENDER on Monday, the failure of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement was an attestation to the fact that the government was not ready to develop the education sector.
The agreement, which was signed by the late President Yar’Adua’s administration, after about four months of strike that grounded all federal and state-owned universities in Nigeria, included funding of education, with 26 percent annual budget of the country, wage improvement and raising of the retirement age of professors from 65 to 70.
National Coordinator of the ERC, Comrade Taiwo Hassan, said the agreement would nip in the bud the growing crisis in the country’s educational system and correct the anomalies in the standard of education, if implemented.
Hassan added that the continuous failure of the Federal Government on its responsibility of funding education, despite the worsening condition of the sector, was a demonstration of the irresponsibility of the corrupt ruling elites in Nigeria.
Condemning the mass failure that greeted the last National Examination Council (NECO) examinations, Hassan alerted that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Scheme would fail, if schools continue to remain under “bureaucratic management”.
He said; “Despite billions of naira spent so far on the UBE in the last five years, the quality of public education in terms of facilities and learning conditions remains deplorable. This is because most of the money went into the pockets of top officials of the Federal Ministry of Education and corrupt school managements”.
The drop-out rate in primary schools, according to official statistics, is still as high as 9.3%, while transition rate to secondary school is 61%, he revealed.
According to him, the only way the government can ensure that public spending on education is not siphoned, is by democratizing the management of primary and secondary schools, through the involvement of elected representatives of teachers, parents and communities, in the management boards of each school.