Deputy Senate President,Senator Ike Ekweremadu
yesterday raised the alarm over
what he termed discriminatory
practices in the admission
of prospective students into
public educational institutions.
This was even as he strongly
canvassed the return of schools
hitherto belonging to the
church and other religious
organisations to their original
owners.
Ekweremadu noted that
government had fared badly
in building upon the successes
recorded before the forceful
takeover.
The deputy Senate president,
according to a statement by
his special adviser on Media,
Uche Anichukwu, spoke at the
46th convocation of the Bigard
Memorial Seminary in Enugu
on Monday.
He specifically drew the
nation’s attention to how
quality education had raised
South Korea from the ruins of
war and poverty at the end of
the Korean War in 1953, to one
of the global economic superpowers,
even with virtually no
mineral resources.
Ekweremadu thetefore
wondered which nation ever
made progress by “admission
policies and practices that lower
the standard to accommodate
some candidates at the expense
of brighter students and merit,
as is the case in Unity Schools,
rather than ensure that every
state raises the bar in terms of
teaching and funding to enable
their students match their
peers from other parts of the
country.”
He said the forced takeover
of schools in the 1970s “should
never have happened,” noting
that such “punitive act, coupled
with long years of military
misrule threw the door of our
educational system open to the
evils of decadence, nepotism,
poor funding, decrepit
infrastructure, abandonment,
mediocrity, immorality and
indiscipline that ravaged other
government-run and services.”
On the contrary, he said that
the “church and other religious
institutions, when they held
sway, lifted the education sector
to lofty academic, disciplinary,
and moral standards.”
Ekweremadu, therefore,
urged government to “give
to the church what belongs
to the church,” observing
that the handover of schools
by Anamabra State to their
original owners saw the state
rise from previous 25th and
26th positions on a table of
36 states to first position in
National Examination Council,
NECO, performance in 2011
and 2013and moral standards.”
Ekweremadu, therefore,
urged government to “give
to the church what belongs
to the church,” observing
that the handover of schools
by Anamabra State to their
original owners saw the state
rise from previous 25th and
26th positions on a table of
36 states to first position in
National Examination Council,
NECO, performance in 2011
and 2013.Ekweremadu was,
however, quick to add that
such handover should not
serve as a ploy by states to
evade the responsibility of
funding quality education
for their citizens as “quality
education costs good
money.”
He said the government of
Anambra State under former
Governor Peter Obi not only
handed over 1,040 primary
schools to the church in 2011,
but also voted N6 billion for
the schools, knowing that
it would still be serving the
same Anambra people.
According to him,
“Anamabra only saw it as
a way to ensure that they
are better managed for
the academic and moral
excellence of the students.
“Like in the days of old,
the church should not see her
role in education from the
point of business in the real
sense of it,” he admonished.
For his part, the Bishop,
Catholic Diocese of Sokoto,
Matthew Hassan Kukah
regretted that the country
was yet to truly takeoff, even
more than 50 years after
independence.
He said Nigeria’s masses
had shown uncommon
commitment to the nation’s
democracy through
continued sacrifice and
endurance, noting that the
challenge was whether the
political elite had the reflex,
capacity, and commitment
to lead on the path of
democracy.
Stressing the need for unity
of purpose, the rector of
Bigard Memorial Seminary,
Very Rev. Fr. Albert Ikpenwa
said the seminary remained
committed to the “urgent
need to pull down the walls
of individualism, break
our cages and empires, and
obliterate the structures of
cliquism, nepotism, and
sentimentality among us.”


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