Labour Party governorship candidate in Kwara State, Comrade Issa Aremu mni has expressed worried over the state of education in the state, saying that the sector has suffered neglect.
Aremu lamented that the public schools in the state are in disrepair and near abandonment, adding that the liberation the state needs, can only manifest in rebuilding of government owned institutions of learning.
He said this on Thursday at the Science Fair Competition organised by Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) and International Citizens Service (ISO) at Apata Ajele Community Secondary School in Eiyenkorin Area, Asa Local Government Area of the state.
Four schools including Apata-Ajele, Araromi-Ayegun, Ogele and Lasoju in the Eiyenkorin took part in the competition themed “Science is a Human Right”.
Aremu, who spoke through the state Chairman of Labour Party, Comrade Abdulkareem Mumini Onagun, disclosed that his party must declare a state of emergency in the education sector if elected next year.
The governorship hopeful also expressed concern over poor condition of infrastructure in public schools, saying there was need to stop falling quality, dilapidated structures and poor sector management.
Aremu, who recalled with nostalgia his days as a student of Ilorin Grammar School (IGS), said the then state government in spite of limited state budget was able to provide free school uniforms, books as well as access to pipe borne clean and good toilets.
He warned that the old Kwara that was set to abolish illiteracy must be restored as a precondition for development.
He said, “It saddens me to see all these public schools in a state of disrepair and near abandonment. Kwara State needs liberation, which must start with rebuilding of public schools like IGS.
“We must stop falling quality, incoherent curriculum, examination malpractices, poor funding, dilapidated structures and abysmally poor sector management. We must adequately pay teachers, the real drivers of education and enhance their status”.
Decrying the state of infrastructure in the schools that participated in the competition, the labour party governorship candidate, expressed his willingness to build a toilet for the winning school, especially for the girl students who use open space to ease out.
“I feel sad and diminished today that in 2018 these four schools in Apata-Ajele, Araromi-Ayegun, Ogele and Lasoju in the Eiyenkorin Area, lack what I and others had some 45 years ago; infrastructure such as portable water supply, a toilet and science laboratory!
“The schools also receive little or no funding and support from their government. Also teachers are being arbitrarily transferred for daring to protest against delayed and non-payment of their legitimate salaries. This is unacceptable”, Aremu said.
He commended the voluntary organisations for organising the event, saying that it will promote science as a tool for peace and development in communities and also boost morale and confidence of the students and staff.
The Project Officer of VSO, Jennifer Madueke, told the gathering that the organisation was brought to Nigeria in 1958 while it has spent 10 years in Kwara State rendering educational support and social responsibility services.
The volunteers are made up of Nigerians and foreigners who were visibly happy for contributing their quotas towards the growth and development of education in the state.
The host school, Apata Ajele Junior Secondary School took the first position in the competition, Araromi-Ayegun Junior Secondary School came second, Ogele Junior Secondary School took the third position while the fourth position went to Lasoju Junior Secondary School.
The first position won the prize of borehole for the school, second position to be provided with toilet facility to be constructed by Comrade Issa Aremu, while the third and fourth positions were presented with 6 buckets of paint (20 litres each) and 4 buckets of paint (20litres each) respectively, while all participating students including those participated in science practicals went home with consolation prizes.
Other highlights of the event included presentation of cash donation by Comrade Aremu to support the project, presentation of writing materials to the students and sanitaries to female students courtesy of the wife of Comrade Aremu, Hajia Khadijat Issa Aremu, among others.