Educationist: Free Education Can Reduce Nigeria’s 10.5m Out-of-School Children by 90%

Educationist: Free Education Can Reduce Nigeria’s 10.5m Out-of-School Children by 90%

Gilbert Ekugbe

The Founder, Kingston Nursery and Primary School, Rev. Victor Basola, yesterday stated that Nigeria could reduce the 10.5 million out-of-school children by 90 per cent if managers of the economy adopts a free education model in the country.

Basola while addressing a global press conference on free education at the school’s premises in Akute area of Ogun State, expressed optimism that Nigeria has the capacity to adopt a free education model, but lacked the political will to make it a reality.

Expressing concerns over the 2024 budgetary allocation to the nation’s educational sector which he said is less than the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisations (UNESCO’s) 20 per cent standard, Basola said the federal government and corporate organisations must come to the aid of the sector by increasing the financial commitments to the sector.

“If education is the key and passport to the future, we must increase the budgetary allocation to the sector by over 15 per cent, but what we see in the country is corporate organisations sponsoring talk shows that display nudity with over N20 million, but gives the best graduating student of a school N100,000. To me, this is hypocritical,” he said.

According to him, in Nigeria, about 10.5 million children of the country’s children ages 5-14 years and about 58.4 million children of the world’s 787 million children of primary school age do not go to school due to poverty.

“Hence, a need for a place like Kingston Nursery and Primary school, an absolutely free school here in Akute, Ogun State should be given the necessary support and encouragement to succeed,” he said.

He pointed out that free education was introduced to Nigeria by Obafemi Awolowo in Western Nigeria in the year 1955, maintaining that it provided opportunities for all individuals regardless of their socioeconomic class.

“When the Universal Primary Education Scheme was introduced to the Western region in 1955, pupil enrolment in the primary schools soared from fee paying 446, 600 in 1954 to non-fee 811, 432 in 1955; an increase of over 90 per cent in one year. By 1961 primary school enrolment in the West had risen to 1,134,788 pupils, a significant turnaround in the figure of children in school,” he added.

He called on high net worth individuals, states and federal governments to support the school’s vision of making free education a reality in the country.

“Our students are taught by well-trained teachers in a standard learning environment, given free text books, notebooks and uniforms and one free meal per day in order to ensure their undivided attention and participation,” he said.

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