The Nigerian Union of Teachers NUT has joined Africa’s teachers under the aegis of Education International African Regional Committee EIRAC, in its call on African Union heads of State to reject privatization and profit-making in education.
The Union also urged the leaders to prioritize the achievement of inclusive and equitable quality free public education for all and realize the internally-agreed minimum education funding benchmarks, by allocating at least 6% of the national budget to education.
NUT’s National President, Dr Muhammad Nasir Idris made these known in a communique after a conference held on Privatization and Commercialization of education in Nigeria.
The Teachers Union also urged the Nigerian government to affirm it’s stand on prescribed minimum standards of education at all levels as well as ensure effective regulation of private schools and the activities of their operators.
The Union demands that all tiers of government in Nigeria must ensure that the provision of private education at all levels is carried out in line with relevant legal instruments, human right principles and set standards.
NUT implored the British Government, the sponsors of the Education Outcome Funds EOF , and other international financing institutions and development partners to refrain from using tax payers funds to promote profit oriented private providers of education .
The Union challenged the sponsors to direct such funds to assist government efforts in strengthening and expanding quality public education for the benefit of underprivileged and disadvantaged children in Nigeria and around the world.
According to the Union, “they must also re-double efforts in the provision of quality public education in all parts of the country”
NUT confirmed that the participation of private actors in education is recognized by the National Policy on Education NPE, to complement the efforts of government.
“what has become worrisome is the proliferation of private schools of all kinds and qualities at all levels of education with its effect of stratification in the education system and creating segregation and inequalities in education” the Union said
“This is a cause we are determined to stand for in the interest of our common ideals as a nation and our collective goals and aspirations as a people” NUT added.
The Union expressed concern over the entry of low-cost private schools operated by private companies such as Bridge International Academies BIA, which NUT says the schools are operating presently in Lagos State with plans of expansion to other States of the Federation.
“To turn education into a tradable commodity for the purpose of making profit is to mortgage the future of the less-privileged, the disadvantaged and the vulnerable children in society; it is a development that undermines the universal right to education” the Union said.
The Nigerian Union of Teachers however called on well-meaning Nigerians to stand against privatization, commercialization and commodification of education, and support quality public education for all.
“Let us rise to defend the right of every child to quality education. It is a duty we owe the children and the future of our nation,” the union said.