By Adesina Wahab
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, have said the revelation by the United States Government that Nigerian parents spent over N190 billion on their children’s education in the country last year is an indictment of the education sector in Nigeria.
ASUU particularly said the development also vindicated the union’s position that education in the country needs urgent attention.
The Chairman of the University of Ilorin Branch of ASUU, Prof. Moyosore Ajao, in a chat with our correspondent, said it was unfortunate that despite the tight economic situation in Nigeria, scarce resources were being spent on the education of the citizens in foreign lands.
“This is what we have been saying all along that the government wants to kill public schools in the country by starving them of funds and not doing the needful. We have been calling for improved funding of the sector so that our universities would not become glorified secondary schools.
“The development has confirmed what we have been saying and has vindicated us. Imagine the pressure the huge sum spent on foreign education would put on our scarce foreign exchange. It is only the politicians who can afford to send children abroad now. How many average Nigerians can do that now,? He asked.
The National Secretary of the NUT, Dr Mike Ene, said such was expected given the poor state of the education sector in the country.
“It is unfortunate. Now, we have some people kidnapping hapless students and demanding N800 million ransom. An educated person who values education would not do that. Look at the parlous state of our schools. I know if you go back to the public primary school you attended, it would be in a story state now.
“If we do not get it right at the primary school level, the secondary school level cannot be okay and if we do not get it right at secondary school level, the tertiary level cannot be good.
The irony of it all is that only the privileged few are able to afford foreign education for their children and they are watching as the public school system is collapsing, ” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Lagos State Chairman of the NUT, Otunba Adesina Adedoyin, described the matter as a two-edged sword.
“From time immemorial, people have been going abroad to get foreign education. If you read the profiles of some of our leaders, they went abroad to study. However, some of the questions demanding answers are: What is the state of education in our country? If we are sending our children abroad to study, are we attracting foreign students to our schools here?
‘Incessant strikes, insecurity, lack of stability and inconsistency in the system are some of the factors making education in Nigeria unattractive. What is the percentage of those going abroad to study? The majority of the people have to manage what they have.
“It is only when we comply with international standards that between 16 and 26 per cent of our budget is allocated to the sector for proper funding that we would be better off. No nation rises beyond its level of education,” Adedoyin said.