Wole Balogun, Ado Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, yesterday disclosed government has invested N4.5 billion to shore up school enrolment in the last 11 months.
Fayemi lamented that school enrolment dropped drastically due to the N1000 development levy introduced by the former governor Ayodele Fayose administration.
He said the education policy forced some parents to keep their children of school age at home, thereby increasing the number of out of school children in Ekiti.
Fayemi disclosed this at the Holy Trinity Primary Schhol in Ilawe Ekiti yesterday while flagging off enrolment of pupils for 2019/2020 academic session.
The governor said he made several intervention moves to tackle the increasing out of school syndrome in the state because Ekiti ranked last among the six South West states in school enrolment in 2018.
He said available statistics showed that Nigeria has high number out of school children globally and that no efforts must be spared to reduce the scourge in Ekiti.
“Ekiti was leading before I left in 2014 in school enrolment, but our enrolment has dropped drastically. Introduction of education tax and other anti-people policies introduced by the immediate past government have eroded our gains in the education sector .
“We introduced many policies to boost school enrolment in our first term and we had 96 percent being the highest in the country and South West region.
“Upon assumption of office last October, we immediately outlawed the payment for tax in public and private schools. We also paid N4.5 billion as 2016, 2017 and 2018 counterpart funds to Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), embarked on rehabilitation of infrastructure, provided furniture and instructional materials, introduced school feeding programme and payment of salary to teachers as part of ways to increase school enrolment and retain other gains in education sector,” he said.
Fayemi said his government won’t hesitate to enforce the Child’s Rights Law and UBEC Law, to ensure pupils have access to basic education, saying government has also entered into special partnership with the World Bank to increase girl-child education in Ekiti.