By Amaka Abayomi
The Education Rights Campaign, ERC, has condemned the decision of the Lagos State Government to charge parents and guardians N10,000 to register their wards for computer-based-test, CBT, for 2015/2016 admission into junior secondary schools, saying such was criminal and anti-poor.
The State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye, last Friday said two versions of the screening tests – CBT and pencil-based – would be adopted for the 2015/2016. To this end, parents and guardians are expected to pay N10,000 to designated banks after which candidates would be registered through a customised compact disc issued by the State Examination Board.
Condemning the high charge attached to the examinations, the National Coordinator, Mr. Hassan Soweto, is calling for the said amount be immediately reversed in the interest of the good people of the state.
He said “public education should be a vital social responsibility. Given the glaring deficit in Nigeria’s school population, especially to the disadvantage of the girl-child, it is expected that government would ensures that less of the cost of education is put on parents and guardians in order to promote enrolment.
“Unfortunately, the Lagos State government has shown time and time again that it sees public education as an opportunity to make profit. The overall effect of this ruinous profit-first education philosophy of the state government is that it will end up pricing public education out of the reach of the mass majority of Lagosians.
“It is unfortunate that so soon after Lagos State University, LASU, was rescued from a debilitating astronomical hike in fees, the state government is already looking towards the junior secondary sub-sector to implement its anti-poor motives and agenda for public education.
“What the government does not immediately realise now is that if astronomical hike in fees had such debilitating effects on a university within three years, the pursuit of a similar policy of systematic commercialisation of the education sector especially at the junior secondary school subsector will have catastrophic repercussion.”
Calling on the state government to live up to its much advertised free education policy, the National Coordinator said it is nothing but a show of shame when a government claims to be implementing free education while it, at the same time, imposes on parents and guardians all kinds of charges running into thousands of naira.