The Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, said the state government had invested over N4.5 billion to education increase school enrollment and return education to its lost glory he assumed office October 2018.
Fayemi made this known in Ilawe-Ekiti, Ekiti South West Local Government Area Of the state while inaugurating enrollment of pupils at Holy Trinity Primary School for the 2019/2020 academic session.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports the event coincides with resumption of schools, in the state, for the first term.
He lamented the negative consequences of levies introduced by former Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, adding the development caused mass reduction of pupils in public primary and students in secondary schools.
Fayemi expressed concern that Ekiti state, which was ranked first in school enrollment had slumped due to the N1, 000 per term tax policy introduced by the Fayose administration.
He said that the policy forced many poor parents to keep their children out of school thereby increasing the number of out of school children in the state.
The governor said he was compelled to take urgent steps to tackle the increasing out of school syndrome in the state because the state ranked last among the six Southwest states in school enrollment in 2018.
Fayemi, who said that statistics showed that Nigeria had high number out of school children globally, said no efforts would be spared to reduce the scourge in the state.
“Ekiti was leading before l left office in 2014 in school enrollment but our enrollment has dropped drastically.
“Introduction of education tax and other anti-people policies introduced by the immediate past government have seriously eroded our gains in the education sector.
“We introduced many policies to boost school enrollment in our first term and we had 96 percent being the highest in the country and Southwest region.
“Upon assumption of office last year October, we immediately outlawed the payment of tax in public and private schools. We also paid N4 billion as 2016, 2017 and 2018 counterpart funds to Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
“We also embarked on rehabilitation of infrastructure, provision of furniture and instructional materials, introduced School Feeding programme, payment of salary to teachers among others.
“This is aimed at increasing school enrollment and retains other gains in education sector.’’ he said.
Fayemi said his government would not hesitate to enforce the Child’s Rights Law and UBEC Law to ensure that pupils have access to basic education in the state.
He said government had entered into special partnership with the World Bank to increase girl- child education in the state.
The governor assured that the ongoing recruitment of teachers into primary schools would be transparent and merit based.
The Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof. Francesca Aladejana, said the state government had procured 8,072 units of plastic pupils’ furniture, and renovated 83 blocks of classrooms.
According to her, the constructed 3,375 metallic lockers, among others, all in the last 11 months in the life of the present administration in the state.
Aladejana also said SUBEB had also been engaging the parents and guardians across communities, on the need to pay premium interest on education of their children.