The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has said that governments at all levels must invest more in public schools to improve the standard of education in the country.
He stated this at the grand finale of the 2022 National Quiz Competition organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, held in Abuja on Thursday.
The competition was on “The Legislature and Democracy” organised for secondary schools across the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and the six geo-political zones.
In his remarks, Mr Lawan said that more resources must be invested for the upgrade of public schools across the country.
“I feel that public schools are not doing so well compared to private schools.
“Out of the seven schools for this quiz competition, only three are public schools and four private schools. And that tells a story.
“The story tells me that our private schools appear to be more successful and therefore can win and beat public schools.
“This is very significant to us. It is a wake-up call. Government must invest in our public schools,” he said.
Mr Lawan while underscoring the importance of education said that education at the basic level particularly, and at the secondary school level should not only be mandatory but free for all citizens across the board.
“In fact education at that level should be a right or must be a right. Because for any nation to develop you have to set the foundation right and that is give education priority.”
The senate president, however, said that private schools must be supported financially saying that they are also partners in national development.
“So even the private schools need the support of government not only in keeping and maintaining the standards but some kind of resources to be made available to private schools just to ensure that they continue on the part of national development.”
Mr Lawan who is also Chairman NILDS Governing Council said that the institute was using the instrumentality of the quiz competition to create awareness, knowledge and understanding of the history, role and function of the Nigerian legislature.
He called on the management of NILDS to collaborate with research institutes and relevant agencies of government to develop a curriculum for schools on legislative and democratic studies.
In a goodwill message, Director-General National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Balarabe Ilelah said that the commission identifies with the objectives of NILDS.
Clementine Usman-Wamba, Assistant Director, Office of the DG represented Ilela.
“One of the roles of the commission is to promote political awareness to foster a democratic society and to also promote the acquisition and pursuit of knowledge.
“In furtherance of this, NBC has also licensed over 50 Campus Broadcasting Stations in an effort to encourage educational institutions in training the younger ones in fostering their knowledge expansion in Nigeria.”
He said: “With this competition, we have found a common ground to promote the objective of broadcasting.
“It is exciting to us what NILDS is doing at promoting civic education involving children.
“We don’t have enough of children content in broadcast stations apart from the fact that the current law mandates that stations should have at least 10 per cent content dedicated to children channels.”
He, however, said that the quiz by the legislative institute, could be amplified into thematic channels centred on education.
In a welcome remark, Director-General NILDS, Prof. Abubakar Sulaiman said that one way of engaging children very early in their development was through civic education.
This, he said was an important and effective tool that facilitates the participation of citizens in democratic and development processes.
Sulaiman said that the first edition of the competition was held in 2016 with the main objective of introducing secondary school students to the fundamentals of legislative processes and procedures for democratic governance.
Seven schools participated in the grand finale including Top Faith International Secondary Mkpatak, Akwa-Ibom, Immaculate Conception Secondary School, Bauchi.
Others are Saint Augustine College, Jos, Plateau, Government Secondary School Gwarimpa, Life Camp, FCT.
“Grundtvig International Secondary School Oba, Anambra, Model Secondary School Akure, Ondo and Global Kids Academy Sokoto.”
Top Faith International Secondary School, Mkpatak, Akwa Ibom emerged first position; second position went to Model Secondary School, Akure, Ondo
While third position went to Global kids Academy, Sokoto.
Idem Udosen, one of the students of Top Faith International School Akwa-Ibom gave thanks to God for his school to have emerged first in the competition.