NO TO INTRODUCTION OF DEVELOPMENTAL FEES IN OYO STATE OWNED SCHOOLS!
*To curb the menace of mass failure in exams like WASSCE requires adequate funding of public education and living wages for educational workers*
The Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN, Oyo State Chapter condemns the decision of the APC-led government in the state to stop the payment of the fee for the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for potential candidates in public secondary school in the state as well as the introduction of a sum of N3, 000 as developmental fees for students across public schools in the state.
This decision will no doubt increase the economic woes of workers and poor masses in the state. The population of parents for students in public schools in the state are largely public workers, retirees and poor traders and artisans who have been the victims of the various anti-people policies of Senator Abiola Ajimobi-led government right from its inception.
For instance, at present the APC-led government in Oyo state is owing the public workers and retirees in state the payment of over 6months unpaid salaries and pensions despite the bailout fund recently approved and allegedly released to state government by the FG meant to offset the obligation. Thousands of shops/stalls belonging to poor artisans and petty traders in the state were also destroyed without either prior provision of alternatives or compensation by Senator Ajimobi-led government in the earliest part of the regime. This demolition which was carried out under a false pretence of urban renewal policy has denied many working class homes of their means of livelihood.
Considering the severity of economic hardships that have been unleashed on the working people by policies and programmes the APC-led regime in the state, SPN frowns at any decision to introduce any other unholy policy poised with potential to compound the burden of already overburdened poor people in the state. We therefore call for the immediate and unconditional reversal of this decision and insist on the need for adequate and proper funding of public education and other social services as the most reliable step towards curbing the menace of mass failure in external examination like WASSCE.
The argument of accusing students of not being serious as the main cause of mass failure in WASSCE and that such mass failure can only be curbed by the combine effect of re-introducing fee in public schools and making parents responsible for the payment of WASSCE fees of their children is unfounded. Poor academic performance of students in public schools is largely caused by the neo-liberal policies like cut in social spending on education, health care, infrastructure coupled with the commercialisation and privatisation of social services, forced by IMF and World Bank on the Nigeria government at all level regardless of political parties.
As a result of these policies, public schools are today bedevilled with inadequate facilities for proper learning, teaching and research such as books, laboratory, and equipment. Classrooms and hostel facilities are insufficient and dilapidated, qualify manpower are gross inadequate, Workers in the education sector are denied the incentives capable of encouraging improvement in their skill.
To reverse this trend will mean that government at all levels must comply with UNESCO recommendation which says that at least 26% of yearly budgetary allocation of any state or nation must be voted on education. Again, a body comprising elected representatives of students, educational workers, parents and government functionaries will be required to prevent whatever fund is pumped to the sector from being diverted or misappropriated.
SPN also believes that if the political office holders is placed on salaries and allowances equivalent to that of the civil servants, more public resources that often go to private individuals will be liberated thus make more resources available for the proper and adequate funding of education sector as well as other public utilities despite the decline in the oil revenue.
Secretary, SPN Oyo State