Tuesday, February 7, 2023

NLC rejects plans by Nigerian govt to privatise education

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The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has kicked against the privatisation of education in the country.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba made this known at the 3rd National Quadrennial Conference of the union in Abuja on Wednesday.

The theme of the conference is: “Trade Unions and Emerging Challenges in the World of Work”.

The Federal Ministry of Education had planned to concession publicly-owned schools that are not doing well for better management.

The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba had said that the ministry was working out a framework to bring in private sector players to adopt public schools not doing well.

But Mr Wabba said that privatisation would only lead to more insecurity in the country, while calling on the government to increase budgetary allocation for the sector instead of privatising education.

He recalled that the privatisation of the power sector had failed and brought misfortune to workers.

Danladi Msheliza, the President, Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education in Nigeria, SSUCOEN, canvassed for the review of budgetary allocation to education and as well increase overhead releases.

He said that the government views teacher education as an option and not a priority, hence pay less attention to critical areas affecting teachers education.

“The continuous neglect of Colleges of Education (COEs) by successive governments portends grave danger and high implications, especially to teacher education.

“Unfortunately, both the legislative and executive arms of government at federal and state levels view it as an option and not a priority.

“But for us, the growth and development of teacher education remains non-negotiable as it is the bedrock of development in our beloved country.

“We call on the government to have a rethink on the kind of attention it pays to the foundation of teachers, which is COEs,” he said.

Mr Msheliza said that if attention was not paid to the foundation of teachers, even the universities would not get it right “if the foundation is faulty’’.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the early presentation of the 2021 budget to the National Assembly for consideration.

He expressed concern over the steady decrease in the percentage of budgetary allocation to education relative to the annual budget.

“A paltry of about six per cent (highest in figure of recent years but lowest percentage allocation in 10 years, since 2011) is a clear indication of misplaced priority to education.

 “We have equally noted that percentage budgetary allocations to education have steadily and consistently been experiencing decline relative to annual budget for the past 10 years.

“We, therefore, state that the 2021 budget for education is unacceptable to us because it fell far below the UNESCO’s recommended benchmark of 15 to 26 per cent,” he said.


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