The Ekiti State Government on Tuesday said it has spent about N4 billion to prevent low enrolment in schools and to boost access to free and qualitative basic education in the state.
Governor Kayode Fayemi disclosed this during the flag off of school enrolment for the 2019/2020 academic session at Holy Trinity primary school, Ilawe- Ekiti.
According to the governor, the sum was expended on the payment of outstanding counterpart funds to Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), provision of instructional materials to schools, provision of furniture and payment of running grants to all public schools in the state.
Fayemi, who blamed the low school enrolment figure of the state on the education policy of the immediate past administration, said his administration has introduced a unique approach to tackling low school enrolment in the state.
He noted that his administration’s first step at tackling the issue was by outlawing the payment of fees, levies and education tax imposed on pupils by the immediate past administration in all public primary and secondary schools in the state.
He said:“Though our state is not one of the states of the federation with this noticeable problem but latest statistics however shows that our enrolment figures have dropped considerably in the last couple of years. The reason for this sharp decline is not far-fetched. The introduction of education tax and other anti-people’s policies as well as the neglect of the basic education sector and indeed the entire public service by the immediate past administration in the state has greatly eroded the gains made by our administration in the basic education sector during my first tenure.”
The governor admonished parents to send their children to school, stressing that “parents have no excuse not to send their children and ward to school now that primary and secondary education is free in the state.”
He further stated that asides the introduction of school feeding programme in primary schools, the government has also concluded plans to introduce child friendly initiatives that would make pupils have all round skills in the forthcoming academic session, adding that his administration would continue to constructively engage education stakeholders with a view to getting their support for the development of the sector.
Speaking on the ongoing recruitment of teachers, Fayemi assured applicants that the recruitment process would be transparent, fair to all and based on merit.
He urged teachers to put in more efforts to “complement plans to reform, restore and reposition the education sector of Ekiti State to an enviable one among the comity of states.”
In her remarks, the Chairperson of Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board, Prof. Francisca Aladejana, revealed that the 2019/2020 enrolment campaign was the first enrolment drive since 2015, adding that the action was a demonstration of Fayemi’s commitment to boosting school enrolment in the state.
She disclosed that the state government had procured 8,072 units of plastic chairs and tables for pupils; constructed 3375 units of lockers and benches as well as 4150 units of teachers tables and chairs with the aim of making the learning environment conducive.