The Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, has called on the Nigerian Government to bring to end the Privatisation and Commercialisation of education ongoing in the country, stating that it was not healthy for the nation’s educational sector.
The body of teachers, however, urged governments at all levels to make better investment in education in order to make public schools lucrative, regretting that private schools may cause lose of some educational values.
This was the focus of the One-Day workshop on Privatisation and Commercialisation of Education in Port Harcourt, yesterday, organised by NUT, the Education International, EI, Friedrich and STIFTUNG, for Teachers from nine states of South-South and South- East.
Addressing the participants, the National President of NUT, Comrade Audu Titus Amba, opined that there was need for the government to end the era of private schools, adding that education has been turned into commodity only for profit making.
Amba said: “As we embark on the campaign, we are not unaware of the fact that the country’s National Policy on Education provides for participation of private education providers to complement the efforts of government, but what has become worrisome and unacceptable is the ugly trend where education is turned into a commodity for sale with the motive of making profit, coupled with the glaring failure of public authorities to regulate and monitor the activities of non-state actors in order to protect the right to education of our children through the provision of adequate funding and investment in quality public education.
“I wish to specially acknowledge at this juncture the importance of education as a veritable instrument for human capital development and pivot of national development. Our country, Nigeria cannot afford to mortgage the future of our children and youths by failing to accord the education sector it pride of place in the nation’s development agenda. We must brace up as a country to ensure the provision of free and qualitative public education.
In what appeared like a protest, the teachers displayed, placards with different inscriptions, ‘Don’t Mortgage the Future of our Children’, ‘Say no to Privatisation and Commercialisation of Education,’ ‘Education is not a Tradable Commodity, Shun Commercialisation of Education,’ ‘Education is a Common Good, Support Quality Public Education for All,” and others.
Amba on Safeguarding the Right to Education demanded an improved budgetary allocation for education, adding that improvement on the environment and learning facilities in the public schools would bring an end to existence of private schools.
Meanwhile, Dennis Sinyolo, the African Director of Education International, African Regional Office, Ghana, said public schools are sustainable because they cater for the needs of everybody irrespective of gender, social class of ethnicity.
Sinyolo said in many counties public schools are free, adding that private school are there for profit making from parents and Communities.
He said: “Private school are there for profit making, that is why we challenges the commercialisation and Privatisation of education, because we want equal opportunity for everyone, including the most marginalised.”
“Why we have private schools is that the government Nigeria is not investing sufficiently in education. For example, internationally through the united nations, Nation’s agreed to invest at least 20% of their national budget on education, but the government of Nigeria is investing less than 10%.