By Sakin Babalola,Ibadan
There is palpable fear of hike in school fees soon as academic staff in Oyo State-owned tertiary institutions rejected the reduction of subventions to the institution to 25 per cent by the state government
The lecturers, under the aegis of the Joint Action Forum of Academic Staff Union of Oyo State-owned tertiary institutions (JAFAS), said government decision was unacceptable
It said the idea, which is being allegedly test-run at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, would certainly throw many students out of school due to high school fees
In a communiqué issued at the end of its meeting at the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education (EACOED), Oyo, JAFAS called for reversal of the policy
It pointed out that the policy would throw the institutions into deep financial trouble as already evident at LAUTECH.
The communiqué which was signed by Chairmen and Secretaries of the academic unions at LAUTECH, EACOED, Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology (OYSATECH), Igbo-Ora, Ibarapa Polytechnic, Oke-Ogun Polytechnic and College of Education, Lanlate.
It read:”The meeting was convoked to discuss the recent Oyo State Government’s decision to stop all forms of subventions to state-owned tertiary institutions. After careful deliberations, where the pros and cons of the decision were considered, members came up with the following resolutions
“That the position of the government on the stoppage of subventions to tertiary institutions is unacceptable and that the status quo ante be maintained.
“That the state House of Assembly should consider the negative implications of the decision of the executive with particular reference to the laws establishing these institutions and the approves and signed appropriation bill for 2016 fiscal year.”
That members of the public should be aware that this ‘commodification’ of education as being proposed by Oyo State Government is the surest way of producing an army of illiterates who are surely to be thrown out of schools as a result of their parents’ inability to pay school fees, which could be as high as three hundred and fifty thousand Naira (350,000) per student per session.
“That the adoption of “LAUTECH Model” (where the IGR-anchored initiative is being test run) is not sustainable as evident in the current LAUTECH situation, which has run into troubled waters.
“That the report of a committee headed by Prof. A. S. Gbadegesin on the running of secondary education in the state portends a serious danger to the education of our children, particularly the children of the masses who are the major tax payers.
Members equally noted that the policy is a surreptitious sale of public institutions to private hands. From all intents and purposes, it is privatization of government assets under the euphemism of School-Based Management Model (SBM).
Reacting, however, the Oyo State Government described JAFAS statement as preemptive, stating that the government has not made policy pronouncements on some of the issues raised.
In a terse statement by the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun, the state government said that reduction in subventions to tertiary institutions in the state was discussed with the head of the institutions, stressing that, the government is still consulting with them to achieve a seamless education calendar run for tertiary institutions in the state.
Arulogun said that it was surprising that the so-called group, JAFAS, condemned the report of the Education Reform Initiative Committee chaired by Prof. Adeniyi Gbadegesin when the government was still examining the report and has not made its content a policy yet.
“Rather than going to the pages of newspapers to express displeasure on some of government actions in the education sector, JAFAS should have sent a memorandum to the Education Reform Committee when it called for such, instead of misleading the public about the contents of the yet to be made public report,” the government spokesman said.
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