Child Help in Legal Defense of Rights to Education in Nigeria, CHILDREN Project, a developmental, child-right, non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Nigeria which takes special interest in cases that concern women and children condemns the irrational attempt to privatize public schools in Oyo state by the state government.
Reportedly, the Oyo State government in its insensitive move commenced the process of allowing private organizations to partly or fully take over ownership of public primary and secondary schools; a move which have been meet with resistance by right thinking Nigerians including the primary victims, that is the school children.
No matter what reasons the Oyo state government is advancing to justify its decision, they defy logic, fly in the face of dialectics and betray the very essence why government was instituted in the first place.
It is bad enough that government is not abiding by the recommendation of UNESCO to plunge 26% of annual budget in to education which has led to the parlous state of the sector with poorly paid teachers and incondusive learning environment, dashing out publicly own schools to cronies of the politicians in government is certainly unacceptable.
Education is a foundational requirement for any society that is serious about its development and progress, putting such an important sector in the hands of profiteers will certainly leave millions of children out school, thereby retrogressing society in the end.
Coming from a state that can be called the home of free education in Nigeria when it was practiced under the leadership of the great Obafemi Awolowo is like assaulting the sensibilities of Nigerians. It is also insulting that it is those that benefitted from free education that are the harbingers of the commercialization and privatization education.
The diabolic move which has led school children to streets in protests is indicative of what the future hold in stock for Oyo state and the country in future. The government gradually; if not stopped, is breeding future ‘militants’, ‘terrorist’, ‘armed robbers’ etc., this we must not allow to happen!
Thus, we condemn unequivocally the move to privatize public schools in Oyo state and in the country generally. We advise the Oyo state government to take a cue from the Kaduna state government that just put six billion naira into the renovation of public secondary and primary schools instead of their self-aggrandizing and bankrupt position to privatize public schools.
Those that want to own private schools should use their own funds to build schools like we see all over the country. The reason why government is instituted at all is at the very heart of this matter; with this move, we need to ask, what exactly is government doing for the people whose resources has been put under its control besides continually increasing their pains? Government must wake to its constitutional duty as enshrined in Chapter 2, Section 14, 2b that ’ the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’. Education falls in the category of welfare, an uneducated society is one that lacks welfare, therefore failure to provision for education is government failure, and a failed government is a worthless one and should be discarded with.
Education is a fundamental human right of every child as enshrined in different conventions and treaties which Nigeria is a signatory to; from the UN to the African Charter, it is emphasized! No child should be left out of school; it is a betrayal of international conventions which Nigeria as a country is a signatory to.
Coordinator, CHILDREN Project