The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Akwa Ibom State chapter has lobbied the members of the National Assembly not to ascent to the proposed hand over of Primary School education in the hands of Local Government Councils, saying that it would amount preparing the ground for criminality.
Decrying the nonchalant attitude of the political class as the bane of the public education sector in the country, the union raised concern that rather than revitalised the sector, they diverted fund meant for the upgrade of schools to fund the education of their children in private schools home and abroad.
Speaking during NUT rally over opposition to Local Government Autonomy in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital within the week, Comrade Etim Ukpong, the NUT Chairman, said much as his members are not opposed to the Local Government Autonomy assured that moves to subject the primary education sector under the Local Government administration would be resisted with vigour.
The union warned that subjecting public education system would create a bleak future for the society where politicians who refuse to do the right thing now, as far as education is concerned, would not be able to walk the street free.
“We are not against autonomy, but we know the leakages that trail the Local Government system and we must not be sacrificial lambs to such leakages. The National Assembly should do what is right and set the society right; our vote for them to the national assembly would have been in vain if they fail to do what is right”, he said
Ukpong, who also doubles as Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in the state vowed that teachers would continue to agitate and protest until necessary steps are taken to secure the public primary education system.
“We are crying for the teeming population of Nigerian children whose parents cannot afford a private education so that the society would not breed criminals that will make life uncomfortable for the children you trained oversees at the detriment of the children of the poor,” he said.
Justifying the position canvassed by teachers across the nation, the NUT Boss reasoned that no child of any political office holder in the country is enrolled in public school, saying that the negligence of the public education sector has led to poor attention resulting in infrastructure decay and non-payment of teachers’ salaries and allowances.
The protesting primary school teachers bore placards with various inscriptions such as; Save primary education; Local Government councils lacked the capacity to pay primary teacher’s salaries;, We say no to the dark era of non-payment of salaries; Basic education is a right and must be protected, among others.
By Idongesit Ashameri