Group urges Tinubu, state govs to save Nigeria’s education sector


The International Ford Fellowship Program Alumni, Nigeria (IFFPAN) has appealed to President Bola Tinubu to declare a State of Emergency targeted at reviving the basic education sector in the country.

In a statement entitled State of Nigeria’s Education: A Call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to Declare a State of Emergency on the Compulsory Basic Education Program Nationwide, IFFPAN President, Austin Aigbe, decried the degrading learning condition as seen in viral video of one of the schools in the North Eastern region of the country.

According to the statement, the information in the video indicates that the school with a dilapidated bamboo roofing structure, has about 250 students, cutting across primary primary one to six as well as junior secondary school one.

“Also disheartening to note is that the school has one teacher, who teaches all the children across the seven primary and junior secondary classes,” it notes.

The only teacher in the school, as stated by the maker of the video and staff of a non-profit organization in Nigeria, is under the employment of the state government.

IFFPAN in the statement traces the video to a located in Taraba State, North East Nigeria, where the state government is supposedly implementing a free and compulsory education policy declared by the Governor, Agbu Kefas for all primary and secondary schools in July 2023.

“The State Government on April 5, 2024, in a letter signed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Abel Joachim, suspended the Principal of Government Day Secondary School and his examination officer over an alleged plot to sabotage the free and compulsory education policy of the state government.

“While we commend the free and compulsory education of the state government under the leadership of Governor Kefas, we are concerned about the inhuman learning environment of the students in the viral video. We, therefore, condemn in strong terms the deplorable ambience, the poor learning architecture and the near absence of teaching staff in the school,” the statement reads.

According to the organization, “the school in the viral video falls short of the minimum standards required for free and compulsory education”, which it further enumerates.

“Key requirements for compulsory education are that the learning needs of students are met through equitable access to appropriate learning and life skills programs. Added to this is the improvement of all aspects of the quality of education, and ensuring excellence for all, so that recognised and reasonable learning outcomes are achieved”

“There can be no reasonable outcome for learning for students in the viral video school; especially since one teacher is responsible for teaching the primary and junior secondary schools totalling about 250, including students with disabilities”.

It notes that such deplorable learning condition is not peculiar to Taraba state, but a reflection of the poor state of education the nation’s education sector, which requires urgent attention from all tiers of government.

“There is no contending with the deplorable standard of education – at least since the return to democratic government in 1999, the sector has greatly been impacted by poor quality of teaching and the inadequate funding of schools.

“Across the country, access to quality education in rural areas is limited, almost a scarce commodity. This is noteworthy since the rural areas in Nigeria are home to the majority of children in primary schools, especially children with disabilities.

The statement therefore recommends that the Taraba state government immediately identifies other schools in the state in similar situations, while taking appropriate steps to restore dignity to public schools.

“This call is also applicable to all state chief executives. The state governors should prioritize investments in the education sector and rescue primary education in their states, which is the foundation of good education.

“The federal and state governments should commit appreciative and incremental budgetary allocations to improve the education sector while private corporations and individuals invest and support efforts by the governments in improving the education sector in the country”.

The statement also calls on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to immediately declares a state of emergency on the compulsory basic education programme nationwide to demonstrate his avowed commitment to providing safe and secure learning environment for children.

“In his 2024 Children’s Day Statement, the president also reassured the nation of his commitment to enhancing the quality of education. IFFPAN urges the President to spare no effort in ensuring that Nigeria’s children have a solid footing for the realisation of their dreams.

The International Ford Fellowship Program Alumni, Nigeria (IFFPAN) is an independent, nonsectarian, nonpartisan, private, nonprofit, social justice organization for Nigerian Alumni (Fellows) of the International Fellowship Program of Ford Foundation United States.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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