NLC kicks against privatization of education

Funmi Lawrence

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

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

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

It would be recalled that the Ministry of Education had planned to concession the public-owned schools “not doing well” to enable better management.

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

Wabba, however said that privatisations 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 the privatisation of the power sector which had failed and brought misfortune to workers as they pay more for services not enjoyed.

Meanwhile, Mr Danladi Msheliza, 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.

Msheliza said that the government viewed teacher education an an option and not a priority, hence pay less attention to critical areas that affect teacher education.

“ The continuous neglect of Colleges of Education (COEs) by successive governments portend 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 therefore call on government to have a rethink on the kind of attention it pays to the foundation of teachers, which is COEs , otherwise, even the universities won’t get it right if the foundation is faulty,” he said.

He,therefore, commended president Muhammadu Buhari for the early presentation of the 2021 budget to the National Assembly (NASS) for consideration while also thanking NASS for an expedited action in the passage of the budget.

While appreciating the slight increase in the amount allocated to education in 2021, Msheliza expressed concern over the steady decrease in percentage of budgetary allocation to education, relative to the annual budget.

“ A paltry of about 6%( 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 has 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%-26% to government whose priority is truly education,” he said.

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