Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has disclosed that his administration had, in the last 10 months, spent about N4 billion to curb low school enrolment and boost access to free and qualitative basic education in the State.
The Governor disclosed this on Monday, during the flag off of School Enrolment for the 2019/2020 session at Holy trinity Primary School, Ilawe- Ekiti. He said the sum was expended on the payment of outstanding counterpart funds to UBEC, provision of instructional materials to schools, provision of furniture and payment of running grants to all public schools in the state.
Dr. Fayemi, who blamed the low school enrolment figure of the state on the harsh education policy of the immediate past administration which imposed N1000 education tax on pupils in all schools across the state against UBEC law, said his administration has introduced a multi-pronged approach to tackling low school enrolment in the State.
He stated that his administration’s first step at tackling the problem was by outlawing the payment of fees and levies in all public primary and secondary schools in the State.
“Though our State is not one of the States of the federation with this noticeable problem but latest statistics however shows that our enrolment figures have dropped considerably in the last couple of years. The reason for this sharp decline is not far-fetched. The introduction of education tax and other anti-people’s policies as well as the neglect of the basic education sector and indeed the entire public service by the immediate past administration in the State has greatly eroded the gains made by our administration in the basic education sector during my first tenure”, he said.
While stating that government is not unaware of the appalling challenge of poor parental and communal attitude to education, Governor Fayemi said parents have no excuse not to send their children and ward to school now that primary and secondary education is free in the State.
Aside the introduction of school feeding programme in primary schools, the government, according to Dr Fayemi, has also concluded plans to introduce child friendly initiatives that would make pupils have all round skills in the forthcoming academic session.
The Governor said his administration would continue to constructively engage education stakeholders with a view to getting their support for the development of the sector.
Speaking on the ongoing recruitment of teachers, Fayemi assured applicants that the recruitment process would be transparent, fair to all and based on merit.
He urged teachers to put in more efforts to “complement plans to reform, restore and reposition the education sector of Ekiti State to an enviable one among the comity of states”.
In her welcome remarks, the Chairperson of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof. Francisca Aladejana, disclosed that government had procured 8,072 units of plastic pupils furniture, constructed 3375 units of metal legged pupils lockers and benches as well as 4150 units of teachers tables and chairs with the aim of making the learning environment conducive.
Aladejana said the 2019/2020 enrolment campaign was the first enrolment drive since 2015; adding that the action was a demonstration of Fayemi’s commitment to boosting school enrolment in the State.