By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
Lecturers at the Oyo State owned tertiary institutions on Tuesday rejected the stoppage of subventions to their institutions by the state government.
The lecturers under the umbrella of Joint Action Forum of Academic Staff Union of Oyo State-owned tertiary institutions (JAFAS) in a communique issued at the end of its meeting held at the Emmanuel Alayande College of Education (EACOED), Oyo demanded immediate reversal of the reduction of subventions to the institution to 25 per cent by the state government.
JAFAS in the communique frowned at called the policy, saying it was unacceptable as it will throw many students out of school due to high school fees.
In the communique jointly 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,the lecturers said “the position of the government on the stoppage of subventions to tertiary institutions is unacceptable and that the status quo ante be maintained”.
“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”.
They added 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, has run into troubled waters” saying, “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 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).
However, Oyo state government while reacting to the JAFAS statement described it “as preemptive” saying the government has not made policy pronouncements on some of the issues raised.
The government in a statement by the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. Toye Arulogun declared that the reduction in subventions to tertiary institutions in the state was discussed with the head of the institutions, and that,“the government is still consulting with them to achieve a seamless education calendar run for tertiary institutions in the state”.
According to Mr Arulogun it was surprising that 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.
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.