Don decries state of elementary education, advocates proper funding

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Dr Martin Igbineweka of the Faculty of Education, University of Benin, on Thursday advocated adequate funding of primary school education to rescue it from imminent total collapse.

Igbineweka, who lectures in the Department of Educational Evaluation and Counselling Psychology, made this call in Benin when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The lecturer expressed regret that governments at all levels were not paying the requisite attention to elementary education making private investors to exploit the situation.

“This level of education is the foundation and building stones for other levels of education in Nigeria and beyond,’’ he said.

He said it was pitiable that same government officials enjoyed quality elementary education in public schools in their formative years.

“There is a big problem when it comes to elementary education. It was meant to be a social service, but private investors have taken it over.

“That should not be a problem. If government has played its role of doing the appropriate things, nobody will hear of the private primary schools,’’ he said.

Igbineweka urged governments to take a cue from the West where nation states like the United Kingdom that colonised Nigeria made adequate arrangements for primary school education.

“At least a child must be able to take after his father; look at the percentage given to education in the United Kingdom and compare that with what obtains in Nigeria.

“Nigeria has the best laws when it comes to education but implementation is the problem,’’ he said.

Igbineweka expressed regret that the rural areas where worse off as some schools there did not have up to four to five teachers.

“In many rural schools, the needed infrastructures are not even existent and the buildings are dilapidated.

“When we talk of elementary education, with the recent policy in education, we are talking of Basic 1 to Basic 9 – that is Primary I to Junior Secondary School (JSS) III.

“It is when a community feels the need that it employs teachers to teach their children in basic school.

“Some those in the corridors of power have their kids in private schools. Some have their own private schools well-funded and furnished,’’ he said.

Igbineweka canvassed for a change in the perception of governments and their officials to elementary education, particularly in public institutions.