Yakubu Busari, Jos
The lingering issue of local government autonomy as it affects education at the grassroots in the country forms a major part of the discussion at an ongoing conference of the National Association of Local Government Education Secretaries of Nigeria (NAESN) holding in Jos, the Plateau state capital.
The Nigerian teachers holding the educational sector at the grassroots have rekindle the desired commitment towards dealing with the causative preferences and negative beliefs in western education.
They said the renewed efforts is vital because as custodians of the basic education at the grassroots, posterity would not forgive them if they allow the spirit attached to the foundation to die down.
Making this disclosure at its annual 27th annual conference holding in Jos, the National President, Dr. Has Sule stated that the confab, with the theme, “Local Government autonomy: Implementation For Basic Education Delivery In Nigeria,” is a platform for educational secretaries from the 774 local governments to come together to share ideas, proffer solution on how best to manage education at the grassroots and standardise the operations and activities of basic education in the respective local government areas in the country.
Delivering his lecture on the theme of the topic, “Local Government autonomy: Implementation For Basic Education Delivery In Nigeria”, Prof. G. O Aplah of the faculty of education, University of Jos, said the granting of autonomy to local government will help to address some lapses that had lingered in the system. He said the autonomy of local government will give the leaders the political will to address issue of infrastructure decay as at the grassroots.
Declaring the session open, the Governor of Plateau State , Simon Lalong, represented by the commissioner of secondary education in Plateau state, Joseph Mairiga, challenged the participants to make the best use of the opportunity and come out with a strong framework that would aid the government in addressing the challenges of education at the level closer to the people.
He expressed regret that the recent financial burden of a primary education and the UBE Scheme that was left in the hands of the three tiers of government did not yield the desired objective due to the lean resources invested in education at the local government level.
He said now that the agitations and argument for local government autonomy is at the front burner of national discuss, the conference is timely and an opportunity for the stakeholders to proffer solutions on the position on whose hands the faith of education would be placed.
He however said government on its part is determined to redeem the educational system through its various agenda and policies so that the nation regains its lost glory in academic excellence.
Responding, Prof Mathew Sule advocated that the Universal Basic Education should be left in the hand of states rather than pushing it to local government.
He applauded the National Teacher conference for finding worthy as ambassador with the achievements recorded under the year review.The association honoured Professor Sule and his counterpart from Anambra state,Chief Eze Emeka Oluse for best performance .