By NewsCritic Reporters
The Abia State government has been berated over the deplorable condition of public schools and free fall of education system in the state. It has also been chided for paying lip service to the welfare of major stakeholders in the system, especially teachers.
In all the Abia State government in the last seven years has been adjudged a monumental failure as far as the education sector is concerned.
This is the verdict of a civil society organization, Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All, CSACEFA.
The group which spoke through its Southeast zonal coordinator, Mrs Eunice Egbuna at an interactive section with the press in Aba last weekend decried the poor welfare condition of teachers, as a result of several months of unpaid salaries and entitlements, a development which according to her has led to incessant industrial actions, the cumulative outcome being the free fall of education standard in Abia State.
“As far as I am concerned, in terms of rating this government has performed below average on education. You can’t tell me that you are a product of an educated family and you will be handling the education sector this way. In fact, they have not done anything to improve the system,” Mrs Egbuna stated.
The CSECFA also lamented the poor security arrangements at most of the public schools with the students feeling unsecured, even as many have been forced to drop out as a result.
However, more worrisome to the group is the recent encroachment on most of the public schools by the government of the day especially in Aba. They alleged that the Abia State government has been selling and leasing out most of the public schools in Aba to individuals and corporate entities.
“Look this is a serious attack on education. Most of us from Abia are highly disappointed with the government of the day, as well as past ones because they started this attack on education. In other states like Imo and Anambra, when public schools are given out, the authorities monitor development.
“But here in Abia, what we see is that government sells and or give out these schools to individuals who in turn start to build plazas, markets, security posts and other things on them. Azikwe Road Primary School, Ndoki Road Primary and host of others in Aba have been given out. What this means is that you can not one day point to your children that this is where you schooled.
Similarly, if you want your primary school certificate tomorrow, you will not know from where to begin because the school has been sold out the group lamented.
Mrs Egbuna who herself is a retired teacher of 16-years standing, therefore, called on the state government to take urgent steps to reclaim the lost glory of the education sector. This according to her can be achieved by meaningfully engaging and partnering with willing individuals and civil society groups.
“The international civil society groups willing to intervene don’t trust the government enough to put their money in any Trust Fund involved. But if the government can cope and partner with local Non-Governmental organizations, I believe that through them, we will secure the needed support”, the group stressed.