Posted by News Express | 12 June 2017 | 1,167 times
Concerned stakeholders in Bayelsa have asked the Governor Seriake Dickson-led government to properly fund education, rather than engaging in rhetoric and propaganda to score political points.
The stakeholders made their positions known at the weekend during a public hearing on “Compulsory Primary and Secondary Education Bill, 2017”, organised by the state House of Assembly.
The representatives of Bayelsa State Non-Governmental Organisarions Forum, Nigerian Bar Association, Nigeria Union of Journalists and Association of Private School Owners, were among stakeholders who participated in the public hearing.
Also, Dein Benadoumene, Chairman, Post-Primary Schools Board, Flora Williams-Ebi, Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Abbey Ayebaemi River, state President, All Nigerian Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools, spoke at the event.
The public hearing followed years of public outcry against the Assembly’s refusal to conduct public hearings for stakeholders to make input into Bills of public interest before passage.
Some Bills passed recently by the Assembly without public hearings, which drew the flak of the public, were the Bayelsa State Higher Education Student Loan Bill, the Bayelsa State Education Trust Fund Bill (to compel residents to pay education levy), and the University of Africa, Toru-Orua, Bill.
Various stakeholders who spoke at the public hearing on the Bill, sponsored by Peter Akpe, Leader of the House, observed that Dickson’s declaration of a state of emergency on education in 2012 had existed more on the lips.
They stressed the need for the Bill to compel government to ensure proper funding of education, and provide teaching aids and instructional materials to avoid the temptation by any school management to collect any form of fees from the students.
They urged the government to provide free school buses to service pupils, adequate funds for sports, examinations and science laboratories, which the schools lack presently.
The stakeholders also suggested that punishment for offending school heads who charge illegal fees should carry suspension from office instead of a jail term.
Presenting an overview of the Bill earlier, Peter Akpe, the sponsor, had said that education remained the right of every child, and that any parent or adult who contravened any provisions of the law would be deemed to have committed punishable offence.
In his remarks, Gentle Emelah, the Chairman, House Committee on Education, commended the participants for their input, assuring them that the House would consider the various contributions into the Bill.
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