Friday 25 August 2017


Asks Government to Reverse the Underfunding and Privatization of Primary and Secondary Education in order to Improve Quality of Education

Press Statement

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns the new cut off marks announced by JAMB which lowers to outrageous levels the minimum requirement for admission into universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education. We hereby demand an urgent reversal of this policy.

We wish to elucidate our opposition to this policy while responding to two arguments offered by the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede to justify it.

According to Guardian newspaper of 25 August 2017, the JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede based his justification of this decision on the fact that “most of the institutions except a few has never filled 70 percent of their admission capacity in the last 10 years”. This if true is truly disheartening.

Every year, nearly 2 million candidates apply for admission, but less than 500, 000 are admitted leaving a huge shortfall. Before now, the popular belief was that the reason for this situation is because there are too few tertiary institutions available for the increasing number of admission seekers. The new twist added to this debate by the JAMB registrar only further underlines the monumental crises afflicting public education and the emergency the situation has already become. 

As a result of the collapse of quality education at primary and secondary school levels over the years occasioned by poor funding and the emergence of private unregulated and usually below-standards private schools, the quality of candidates for admissions has progressively worsened. This is reflected in the annual average performance in qualifying examinations like WASSCE which shows that increasingly fewer numbers of products of secondary schools are able to make credits in 5 subjects. This collapse of quality education at secondary school level is no doubt the outcome of the policy of underfunding and education privatization pursued by successive governments over the last three decades which saw a boom in establishment of private schools many without any real facility nor quality teachers – a variety of which is beginning to manifest at the tertiary levels today.

But this problem will not be solved by artificially lowering the cut-off marks. By lowering the cut-off marks, JAMB is effectively preparing the ground for another crisis in the medium and long term. Moreso, if the quality of education continues to worsen as it definitely would if government fails to step in with more funding, it is only a matter of time before candidates are unable to make 120 cut-off marks. If this happens, would JAMB lower it to 50?

For us in the ERC, the proper way to rectify this kind of problem is by reversing the underfunding an privatization of primary and secondary education through government massive investment in public schools. Government must aggressively begin to rebuild decayed school infrastructures across the country, establish new schools and employ more teachers and support staff with improved remunerations. These if done with devotion, dedication and with clear intention to use public resources to meet people’s needs can reverse the rot afflicting public education within a decade.

As far as we are concerned, there is no other way to increase the quality of students and their overall performance in qualifying examinations other than by improving quality of education and infrastructures in schools. This would require that government halts its anti-poor policies of education underfunding and commercialization and immediately improve funding of education in order to address the acute shortfall in infrastructures and quality staff which is the bane of public education in the country. So long government continues to underfund public education; the quality of students will continue to worsen.

In the same vein, Leadership newspaper of August 25, 2017, the JAMB quotes the Registrar, Ishaq Oloyede, also while justifying the new cut-off marks saying that, “30 per cent of those in higher institutions do not take JAMB or have less than the cut-off marks. The admission process is now automated with direct involvement of the registrar of JAMB for final approval. “We have agreed to regularize admissions that were done under the table this year. From next year we will not accept anything like that”.

The above quote gives the impression that there is more behind the decision to lower the cut-off marks than the above-cited excuse given by the JAMB Registrar. Private tertiary institutions are the usual culprit of this kind of lawlessness because they are often undersubscribed and are always cutting corners to increase their intake. In any case, the ERC rejects this attempt to legalize illegality. We hereby demand the names of the institutions that engaged in unlawful admission of candidates to be publicly disclosed and duly penalized.

We wish to remind the JAMB Registrar that JAMB is a public institution funded by tax payers’ monies and that he was appointed to act in favour of the interests of the general public and not private interests. Therefore if some tertiary institutions admitted students “under the table” or without following laid down rules and guidelines, the least the public expects and would accept is that they are penalized and if they are private Universities, their licenses should be revoked. To then use this illegality to take a decision that could throw our education into further crisis is unacceptable.

Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                                                   Ibukun Omole                      
National Coordinator (07033697259)                                       National Secretary

Tuesday 22 August 2017


On Monday August 21, 2017, members of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Lagos State University (LASU) Chapter held a public meeting to discuss; Incessant ASUU Strike: Way Forward for the Nigerian Masses. The meeting held at Faculty of Education, Lagos State University. The public meeting which attracted nothing less than 75 students was addressed by series of workers/students leaders and activists including  Tony Dansu - the Secretary of ASUU LASU, Adeolu Oyekan - the Assistant Secretary of ASUU LASU, Comrade Majek and Comrade H.T Soweto (ERC National coordinator). Also in attendance was Comrade YNA Omomeewa (ERC Lagos Coordinator) and Comrade Bintinlaaye Aasim (ERC LASU Coordinator). The Public meeting was moderated by Comrade IBM Doroorike who is also the librarian of the ERC LASU branch.

The meeting afforded the opportunity to respond to government propaganda which often try to portray students as a neutral party in a conflict between ASUU and the government over the latter's persistent underfunding of the public University system. In fact so bad is the condition of learning in the public tertiary institutions that were it not for the ideological collapse of the NANS, actually students are supposed to be to the fore of the struggle to salvage the education sector.

As each of the speakers laboured to explain, the reason why strikes are incessant in the education sector is because of government refusal to fund the sector and fulfill agreements reached with unions. For instance the bone of contention in the present strike is an agreement signed since 2009 which successive capitalist government has failed to implement in full for 8 good years now!

 In Dec 2013 an MOU was signed with ASUU which compelled govt to spend, in annual tranches of N220 billion each, a sum of N1.3 trillion over the course of 6 years to revitalise decaying infrastructures in public universities. Up till now, only N200 billion, being the 2013 tranche of the entire sum, has been released. The Buhari/Osinbajo govt despite lavish electoral promises to revamp public education has not paid a dime for 2015, 2016 and 2017. Instead budgetary allocation to education under the Buhari/Osinbanjo govt has fallen to 6%.

A constant refrain at the meeting was that the usual excuse that the Buhari govt has no money because of economic crisis is no more tenable. Where did they find N6.1 billion to buy exotic cars for lawmakers? Where did they get the yet undisclosed millions of dollars they have been spending to treat ailing President Buhari in foreign hospital while our own hospitals are comatose? Why is it that it is only when it comes to paying workers salaries, creating jobs or funding public education and services that the govt suddenly remembers that there is a recession and it has no money?

As Comrade Soweto and ASUU LASU Assistant Secretary tried to explain, the primary reason for successive government irresponsibility towards not only funding of public education but the general welfare of the working class, poor and downtrodden is because of their embrace of the profit-first capitalist system which has no interest in investing in public education or in improving the living conditions of the working people. That is why despite recession, the wealth of the richest 5 capitalists in Nigeria has continued to increase with Oxfam recently reporting that these 5 people have between them enough wealth to banish poverty in Nigeria.

Therefore the struggle to salvage public education must be linked with the struggle to do away with this unjust capitalist system. To do this, we urgently need a mass workers political alternative that can unite the working masses to take political power from the thieving ruling elite and establish a workers and poor peoples govt armed with socialist policies under which Nigeria's vast resources can be brought under public control and democratically managed and deployed to meeting peoples needs, instead of increasing the profit of a few. It is to this end that members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) formed the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) which has been fighting for registration by INEC for years now.

At the end of the public meeting, students began to demand actions that can lead to piling pressure on govt to meet ASUU demands so that the campuses can re-open for academic activities. Suggestions were made on the need to organise mass actions in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja and across the country involving students (not just from LASU, but also other campuses), education workers and concerned members of the public to begin to call on govt to meet the striking lecturers' demands and fund education adequately. All these suggestions were taken with the agreement that the leadership would work on the modalities to implement them after which another, expectedly bigger, meeting involving students unions, groups and organizations would be called. From the venue of the meeting, students and members of the ERC marched round the campus to sensitize other students and members of the University community. At the end of the action, about 19 students chose to join the ERC in order to get more active in the struggle to save public education.

Monday 21 August 2017


Enrollment of 70 Students and 11 volunteer Teachers were recorded in the first week
Michael Ogundele
Oyo State Coordinator, ERC
Abbey Trotsky taking Biology Class
The inaugural edition of a free holiday coaching classes organized by the Oyo State branch of the Education Rights Campaign, ERC, for students transiting from SS2 to SS3 in secondary schools in Ibadan North Local government area of Ibadan entered into the second week on Monday, 14 August, 2017. This is after what can be described as an impressive first week of experimentation.
In the first week of its commencement, the free holiday coaching classes which started on Monday, 7 August, had an enrollment of no fewer than eleven volunteer teachers and seventy (70) students from six secondary schools situated within the Ibadan North local government area in Ibadan. The schools are Community Grammar School, Mokola which also is the venue for the free holiday coaching; St. Theresa College, I.M.G Grammar School; St. Louis Grammar School; Baptist Secondary School and Sacred Secondary School.
Remarkably, five of the volunteer teachers are academics in the University of Ibadan, while six of them are trained teachers in public secondary schools in the local government area.
Prof Kolawole, HOD Teacher Education, University of Ibadan, giving a class
A total number of five core subjects were taught in the first week. These subjects namely Mathematics, English Studies, Physics, Economics and Biology were handled by seven different volunteer teachers including Prof. Clement Kolawole, the current Head of Department, HOD, Teacher Education and former Dean of Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan. He is the second volunteer teacher for English Studies.
Subjects like Chemistry, Commerce, Account, Government and Literature in English which were not taught not in the first week have been added in the second week.
Aside the normal Monday to Friday academic activities, some extra-mural activities like career and counseling talks; drama and poetry are also scheduled as part of the activities to be undertaken between 11am to 1pm on Fridays. This is to create an avenue for students to showcase their abilities and potentials. It was in line with this that, Barrister Ola Adeosun, a human right lawyer and a strong supporter of the ERC, was invited on Friday 11 August to give students a talk on the topic: the rights of children under law and the task to ensure their enforcement.
Barrister Ola Adeosun speaking on the rights of children
So far the ERC free holiday coaching in Ibadan has been impressive with a potential for building of a united campaign of students, parents, teachers and the larger labour movement for adequate funding and democratic management of public education in the state. It is in a bid to achieve this, that a public symposium is being planned for the end of the four week programme.
To support this free holiday coaching financially or with materials you can call 08033914091 or send an email to