Home News Reps committee seeks state of emergency on schools infrastructure

Reps committee seeks state of emergency on schools infrastructure


ABUJA– THE House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education, has called for declaration of state of emergency on schools’ infrastructure in the country, saying the condition where children were being subjected to learn under was unacceptable.

The committee also called for digitalisation of all basic schools in the country, tasking authorities to fashion out policies that would ensure all headmasters and teachers were computer literate.

This came as stakeholders in education sector claimed authorities at different levels have not lived up to expectations in repositioning basic education.

Chairman of the committee,Prof. JuliusIhonvbere, speaking in Abuja, at an education summit organised the Human Development Initiative,HDI,insisted that children were learning under deplorable infrastructure,a situation he noted,was contributing greatly to their poor performance.

Hon. Ihonvbere at the occasion with the theme:”Building Qualitative, Inclusive and Adaptive Education System: Meeting Modern Day Education Challenges in Nigeria”, also frowned at the lackadaisical attitudes of state governora in accessing their counterpart funds with the Universal Basic Education Commission,UBEC just as he accused others of diverting the funds to other areas outside education.

According to him,”The absence of policy consistency, poor funding and inadequate basic facilities are major challenges in the sector.”

“We want a kind of emergency declared on school infrastructure.The children are learning under very dangerous buildings leaking. Some of them unsteady. Well,we pray non crashes on the children,”he said.

For basic education to regain its place in the country,he said,”There should be a special programme that would bring the teachers and instructors into the digital age”, because according to him,” You cannot give what you do not have. You cannot teach what you do not know.”

“It is never too late. Nobody is too old to learn how to use a simple computer. I believe if we take that as a starting point, things will change. There is no reason why we can’t digitalise our schools, provide electricity through solar and provide water,”he added.

Going further he said:” How do you take a six- year old,seven years old and put them in a classroom a whole day without water to wash their hands and yet we are saying COVID-19 is here,wash your and sanitise your hands.”

“Water is basic, it’s not there even to drink. Again, where’s the sanitizer? So there are many things that are wrong but I believe that government policies can resolve these,then sanctioning those who violate those rules because,”he said.

He frowned that some state governments had abandoned their counterpart funds with the Universal Basic Education Commission while some diverted the money to other areas outside education.

“UBEC gives money and some of these funds are not properly managed and nothing happens. So those coming after will repeat the same mistake.How can a governor stay in office for eight years and not access his state’s money with UBEC? And some who access do not deploy the money to the right place! That is why people are saying state governments have roles to play, after all,they budget money for education but they don’t release it to education. It is not all the state,some states are doing very well. In some states,you don’t even know what they do with the funds,”he said.

Also speaking at the occasion, a former Provost of Osun State College of Education, Prof Labayo Kazeem, said the nation’s education sector was not lacking in policy but implementation.

Kazeem,who said governors were not willing to provide infrastructure, regretted that adult education was completely dead in most states.

“They are more concerned about other things that are happening apart from investing in education. We don’t need development partners to tell us what to do right.We are not lacking in policy. They are so comprehensive. We have joined every convention. Education is the only thing that can drive development.

“If we must develop as a nation, the students must be given the opportunity to excel. That is why when we go anywhere in the world we can adapt. Help us tell the governor’s to be serious with our education.”

On her part,the Executive Director of Human Development Initiatives, Olufunsho Owasanoye, called for a review in curriculum while stressing the need for teachers to adapt to technological advancements.

“Some states have nothing to write home about, insecurity, low mortality for students and teachers, overpopulation and so on. We are in the techy era but some teachers especially the old ones are not really in tune with it. Everybody has to be technology compliant. We need to rebuild education and adapt to the new technology.

“Education in any state must take priority. There must be a round-table to discuss what has not been done. The people had to come together and the government needs to strengthen the existing structure and put more structure to ensure the students are safe. When the students know that they are safe they would be willing to go to school”,she said.

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