From Magnus Eze, Enugu
Enugu chapter of Ohanaeze Ndigbo has expressed concern over low enrolment in public primary schools in the state despite massive investments in the basic education sector by the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led administration.
To mitigate the ugly trend, it is therefore, planning stakeholders’ forum to raise an education fund for basic education in the state.
At its education summit in Enugu, stakeholders noted milestones recorded by the state government in the areas of renovation, rehabilitation and outright construction of new classroom blocks in virtually all parts of the state; including recruitment of qualified teachers for the basic education sector. It said these were creating access to basic education and favourable learning environment for the teeming school children.
Regardless, participants identified the gaps in the system as poor patronage of public schools by the stakeholders, poor supervisory role by both government agencies in the sub-sector as well as the traditional rulers and town union leaders.
Some other factors include truancy among teachers, indiscipline among teachers and parents, weak school-based management committees and Parent-Teachers’ Association, poor training and retraining programmes for teachers, poor motivation, especially among teachers in the primary schools, poor attitude to work by the teachers.
The President, Fred Eze and Secretary, Malachy Ochie, in a communiqué, said government should implement the child-right law already in place in the state, and effectively monitor its compliance and ensure prosecution of offenders.
They urged government to consider a policy initiative that empowers community leaders and other major stakeholders in communities to own public schools in their domains and incentives the process there.
Ohanaeze also recommended that “community-based supervision of public schools should be encouraged in such a way that traditional rulers and town union executives should take responsibility in supervising schools in their domains, monitor the teachers and report infractions to the appropriate authorities.
“Government should also initiate a policy that will make it mandatory for all government officials to patronise our public schools to restore public confidence.”
On the issue of teacher motivation, the stakeholders called for immediate approval of the new minimum wage for primary school teachers in the state, just like their secondary school counterparts.