TO PUT a check on the exploitative tendencies of private schools proprietors, the federal government should embark on a comprehensive reform of public schools in the country, the National Association of Nigeria Students, NANS, has suggested.
According to Chinonso Obasi, NANS president, a situation where private schools have become the mainstay of moral and educational development of young Nigerians, was not healthy for the country.
He threw the challenge in Gombe, after distributing more than 15, 000 exercise books and other writing materials to primary school pupils in Gombe State, as part of activities commemorating the 2017 Children’s Day.
NANS said, while Nigerians in leadership positions in the country were products of public schools, “the public school system has been pushed to the background through neglect and abandonment.”
“On the occasion of 2017 Children Day celebration, NANS calls on the Federal Government to refocus on public schools as the cradle of cultural, moral and academic formation of future leaders. The government should ensure a comprehensive review of public school system.
“We believe that Nigeria public schools could reclaim its past glory if government at all levels take interest in the provision of critical infrastructure, capacity building for teachers and expansion of facilities to accommodate the growing population”, Obasi said.
The NANS president described as distressing “the spiralling growth of private schools”, while in most states, the number of public schools remains stagnant, despite increasing population of children in need of access to functional primary education facilities.
He said: “Public schools should not be the dumping grounds for children of the less-privileged members of the society, but the mainstay of the nation’s well planned and developed educational policies for building a new generation of future leaders equipped with proper knowledge and moral training.
“This calls for a constant review of curricular to match modern trends, training and retraining of teachers and upgrading of educational facilities so that instead of serving as poor alternatives, public schools will remain as our national pride in education complemented by private schools and not the other way round.
“In line with NANS’ resolve to encourage state governments that are doing well in the area of education and social welfare of young Nigerians, we have decided to embark on this pilgrimage of distributing over 15, 000 exercise books and writing materials to primary school pupils in Gombe State.
“This gesture by NANS is to challenge the pupils to devote themselves to education as key to a better future and reach out to these future leaders by reminding them to draw inspiration from their Governor, Dr. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who have become a shining example of what education can do in the life of any dedicated young person.
“As a nation’s greatness depends on the quality of its citizens, we believe that all hands must be on desk to ensure that the future of Nigerians is well catered for so that their tomorrow would be better. The Federal Government should focus on education as potent weapon in the fight against corruption and other social ills.”
— May 29, 2017 @ 11:45 GMT