Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools (ASUSS), Ondo State Chapter has kicked against the planned return of the mission schools back to the owners by the state government.
The State Chairman of the Union, Comrade Balogun Tajudeen while speaking with the PATH described the move by the government as ill conceived, saying it will only bring set back to the education sector of the state.
He said the entire teachers under the umbrella of ASUSS are not in support of the move to return the mission schools to the owners.
Governor Akeredolu has earlier hinted that any religious organizations who are interested in taking over their schools to approach the state Ministry of Justice for necessary briefs.
Among the criteria to be met by the missionaries schools, the governor disclosed is an assurance that the released institutions will not discriminate against any admission seekers.
Comrade Balogun posited that returning the schools to the mission meant they would be commercialized which might prevent the children of the poor easy access to quality and affordable education.
” We foreseen a situation where state government will stop paying the salary of teachers when they know that they are not directly in charge of these schools, that’s our concern as a union”.
He said the need for the school to meet up with infrastructure and payment of salaries of the staffers of the school would be a big challenge.
” If the government stop paying salary, it mean the mission will start sourcing for money internally and charging exorbitant fees to meet up it financial needs, what becomes the fate of the poor children?”
The Chairman noted that the aftermath effect of commercialization of the mission schools is the dropping out of the children of the downtrodden who are of school age.
He charged churches agitating and lobbying for return of the schools to channel their fund and energy in building more schools rather than seeking approval from the government for a return.
” If they are so much interested in education, they should build more schools, we have a lot of mission schools today that are not under the state government”.
He asked the governor to reconsider his stands of handing over mission schools to the owners, saying it would only worsen the already existing structure and affect the standard set up by his administration in education sector.
”Our appeal to the governor is to allow the status quo to remain. If care is not taken, it will get to a stage that mission schools will be discriminating in terms of students to be admitted and teachers that can teach in their schools”.
Meanwhile, ASUSS commended the reopening of school for academic works despite the second wave of Covid-19, saying keeping the children at home more than necessary period has negative effect on them.
According to him, we have instances where some of our female students were impregnated during this long stay at home, while some were victims of rape; we love it that they are back to classroom”.
He charged both the students and teachers across the 18 local government to always observe the Covid-19 protocols, adding that Corona Virus is real and millions have died.
While commending the Ministry of Education for being proactive to the plight of teachers and students since the beginning of the pandemic, he asked them not to relent and hesitate to put more effort in providing Face Masks and Hand Sanitizers to all the schools in the state.