The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Oyo State chapter has condemned the resolve of the state government to permit missionaries, alumni associations and individuals to take over the management and running of public secondary schools.
Nigerian Tribune reported that NUT in an advertorial signed by State Secretary of the NUT, Mr Waheed Olojede, noted that allowing other individuals or groups to run schools, apart from government, portended grave consequences for the education system of the state, especially heaping unbearable burden on the masses.
Drawing inferences from the reason for government’s takeover of private schools in 1975, the NUT noted that the recent move by the state government amounted to a sojourn back to the days where school owners charged exorbitant fees, failed to give quality education to students, employed unqualified teachers and allowed religious discrimination in pupils’ enrolment.
“With reference to the situation of our schools which prompted the takeover by government in 1975, no other agency apart from the government can tackle the current problems in our schools without heaving unbearable heaps of burden on the masses. No private individual, group or missions will deliver quality education free, employ qualified teachers without retrenching the long experienced ones, recruit staff without discrimination and pay its staff according to the government salary scale.
“Returning schools to former owners amounts to privatising education, which, in principle and practice, negates the resolution of the UNESCO to which our country is a signatory.
“According to the UNESCO Resolution of 1998 on Privatisation of education, it has been found that privatisation or handling of schools by private agencies increases the gap between the rich and the poor and prevents social cohesion, which is the whole essence of public education.
“Privatisation of education means commercialisation of education and a ploy to make education far beyond the reach of the poor masses. This, in essence, deviates from the universally acclaimed position on the right of every child to education without any form of hindrance which is also the position in the UBE law signed into law by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2003.”
Similarly, the Muslim Community of Oyo State (MUSCOYS) has condemned, in strong terms, the proposed plan by Oyo State government to sell off schools in the state, urging the state government to rescind the decision in the interest of sustaining peace in the state.
It further noted that the government’s decision contradicted the provisions of Universal Basic Education Act of 2014 and Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
The Muslim community, in a statement signed by its chairman, Alhaji Kunle Sanni, and secretary, Alhaji Mursiq Siyanbade, flayed the state government for failing to consult relevant stakeholders before coming up with a decision that affected the entire citizenry.
MUSCOYS expressed disappointment at the announcement, noting that the state government should have convened an education summit before arriving at the takeover plan.
It warned that the policy could result in chaos and anarchy in the state.
“It is worrisome and disappointing that a governor that swore on his inauguration to protect the constitution now went against it by violating provisions of the same constitution, thereby destroying Obafemi Awolowo’s legacy of free education in the state which the governor promised to uphold.”