Monday 24 August 2015
Saturday 15 August 2015
AMOSUN’S SACK OF EDUCATION MINISTRY OFFICIALS OVER STATE OF EDUCATION IS THE HEIGHT OF INFAMY AND AN ASSAULT ON ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Time for a mass fightback against attack on democratic rights of workers and students by the Amosun regime
We of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), Ogun State Chapter, condemn in the strongest terms the sack of six officials of Ogun State Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, including a secondary school teacher by the Ibikunle Amosun-led Ogun State Government over an alleged offensive examination question in the English Language paper of the state’s Unified Secondary School Examination.
According to press reports, the list of those sacked includes two Grade Level 17 officers, Mrs. Folashade Oresegun, who was Director, Education Support Services, Mr. Rotimi Odunsi, who was Director, Curriculum Development and Evaluation and a Grade Level 16 Officer, Mr. Majekodunmi Oluwole. Reportedly, the list also includes a Grade 10 Level Officer, Mr. E.O Asegbe, a Grade Level 8 Officer, Taylor Damilola and an English Language teacher in Mayflower Secondary School, Ikenne, Mr.Joel Adegbenro. We also confirmed that the sacking of both Oresegun and Odunsi has been converted to compulsory retirement while the four others were summarily dismissed.
We consider the grounds upon which their appointments were terminated as highly vexatious, unscrupulous and unacceptable. We view the argument that a passage on collapse of education culled from a book used for examination of secondary school students is offensive and indicting of the state government as completely ridiculous.
We hold that the reality that the state government is running away from is its conscious neglect of education in the state and the government is merely running from its shadows. We submit that the so-called “offensive” and “inciting” passage only echoes the position of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) in Ogun State that the Amosun regime has completely abandoned the education sector in the state. The Amosun regime has refused and neglected to release subventions to tertiary institutions for more than a year and the primary and post-primary institutions are in a state of disrepair.
We also submit that the sacking of the workers is the height of infamy by the Ibikunle Amosun regime which has continuously unleashed attacks on the democratic rights of students and workers. As we write, workers’ unions at the Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu-Ijebu are still under proscription by the state government. This is aside the ban on students’ unions in such institutions as Ogun State College of Information Technology, Igbesa.
We hold that it is high time that a mass fight-back against the attacks on democratic rights by the Amosun regime was built. We call on the two labour centres in the state, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as the education workers’ unions, ASUU, SSANU, , COEASU, NUT, SSUCOEN, ASUP, SSANIP, etc. with other trade unions among others to resist these attacks. We also call on Students’ unions, the Joint Campuses’ Committee in Ogun State and the Zonal leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) to lend their voice of opposition against these attacks and mobilize for mass actions against them. An injury to one is an injury to all.
We call for a wider mobilization of students, workers and the entire working masses in Ogun State to demand the following:
1. Immediate recall of the OGUN SIX! No to victimization of workers!
2. Immediate end to proscription of staff unions in Tai Solarin College of Education, OmuIjebu! End attacks on workers’ rights!
3. Immediate release of two years’ subventions to tertiary education institutions in Ogun State! For proper funding of the education sector and democratic control of the resources in the state!
4. End to attacks on democratic rights of workers and students! Time for MASS ACTION AGAINST ATTACKS ON DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS IN OGUN STATE! Ogun State NLC and TUC with NANS Zone D/ Ogun JCC with trade and students’ unions to NAME A DAY OF MASS PROTEST!
Dare to struggle! Dare to win! We have nothing to lose but our chains!
Acting State Coordinator
Monday 10 August 2015
WAEC’s Decision to Withhold results of Candidates over Debts owed by State governments is Insensitive
ERC Kicks Against Punishing Candidates for State Governments’ Profligacy
Today, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Head of National Office, Mr. Charles Eguridu, while announcing the release of the results of the May/June 2015 WASSCE, disclosed that candidates from public schools in 13 states would not have their results until their respective state governments pay up their registration fees. This is following on the heels of an announcement made two weeks ago by WAEC that 19 states were indebted to it to the tune of 4 billion naira.
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) considers this decision very insensitive and unacceptable and urges WAEC to immediately reverse itself in the interest of candidates whose future will be severely threatened by this unfortunate decision.
To start with, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns the debtor states for their gross irresponsibility, unbridled corruption and financial recklessness which are the reasons they are indebted to WAEC. We also readily concede that WAEC has the right to pursue the payment of debts owed to it in any way it deem fit so far it does not go beyond the ambit of the rule of law. In sympathy with WAEC, the ERC hereby calls on all the debtor states to immediately settle all outstanding debts and commitment with the body. We particularly urge WAEC to publish the names of the debtor states so as to expose them to public scrutiny.
That being said, the ERC however feels that WAEC approach to recovering its debt is dangerous and condemnable. As far as the ERC is concerned, notwithstanding the desperate financial situation that may have compelled WAEC, threatening to punish ordinary children for the crimes committed by profligate state governments is highly insensitive and certainly unacceptable. Nigerian children and their parents are not responsible for the near bankruptcy of some of the states. Rather many of the candidates affected by this unfortunate decision are children of workers and civil servants whose salaries, since the beginning of the year, have also been unpaid for months by many of these state governments.
In addition, the decision of WAEC to withhold results of the candidates has disturbing ethical and moral implications especially in relation to the spirit and provisions of the Child Right Act (2003). As a public institution, WAEC is obligated by the Child Right Act (2003) to make the best interest of the child the paramount consideration in all actions. Part 1 (Subsection One) of the Act states that “In every action concerning a child, whether undertaken by an individual, public or private body, institutions or service, court of law, or administrative or legislative authority, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration”. To us in the ERC, using children as bargaining chip in order to compel defaulting state governments to pay up their debt is certainly not in the best interest of the child and to that extent flouts the spirit and tenets of the Child Right Act. Actually, the implication of WAEC’s decision is that the education pursuit of many of the candidates will be truncated as they may have no O’ level results to process admission into tertiary institutions of their choice. As a public organization that deals with the education needs of children, we expected WAEC and its officials to be more circumspect and sensitive.
The ERC cannot accept a situation where candidates are punished for the profligacy and ineptitude of state governments. We therefore call on the labour movement, civil society organizations and all well meaning Nigerians to prevail on WAEC to:
(1) Immediately reverse this insensitive decision and release the results of candidates from the 13 debtor states
(2) Henceforth, use other means, that does not include withholding of candidates results, to pursue the payment of debt owed by State government.
(3) Publish the names of the debtor states so they can be exposed to public scrutiny
Hassan Taiwo Soweto Michael Ogundele
National Coordinator (07033697259) National Secretary
Thursday 6 August 2015
The eleventh edition of the ERC FREE SUMMER LESSON commenced on 3 August, 2015 which was Day One of the lesson. 163 students were in attendance. The numbers of attendance in each class were as follows: SS 1=34, SS II=43 and SS III=86. They all came from different schools in Ajegunle, Amukoko, Ijora-Badia and Apapa environs.
On the Day One, the teachers who participated in the lesson, General and Art subjects like Mathematics, English Language, Economic and Government took the students in the various Classes up to two periods in each respectively.
Twenty-seven volunteer teachers including comrades had indicated interest before today to participate in the lesson. About ten teachers were around to take part and ensure the coaching took off on a successful note.