The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) considers the recently published decision of the Lagos State Government to charge parents and guardians N10, 000 to register their wards for computer-based-test for 2015/2016 admissions into junior secondary schools as criminally anti-poor.
We demand that the decision to charge this said amount be immediately reversed in the interest of the good people of the State.
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 make effort to ensure that less of the cost is put on parents and guardians in order to promote enrollment. 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 Lagos 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 the Lagos State University (LASU) was rescued from a debilitating astronomical hike in fees, the Lagos 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 sub-sector will have catastrophic repercussion.
The ERC hereby demands that this criminally anti-poor charge of N10, 000 for admission tests into Junior Secondary Schools in Lagos State be reversed immediately.
We urge the State government to live up to its much advertised free education policy. 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.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto Michael OgundeleNational Coordinator National Secretary