The National President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Chief Yomi Otubela, has begged the Federal Government to resolve the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Otubela made the appeal on Thursday in Lagos at the Pronunciation Championship and Spelling Bee Contest organised by the EduComm Speech Master International and Speech Court Services, a subsidiary of the Institute of Professional Speechmaster and Language Proficiency.
According to him, the unending strike will further expose students to substance abuse, immorality, fraudulent activities among others, hence the need for government to show right leadership toward reopening of Nigerian universities.
“A situation where our children are out of school for months now – remember that they were also out of school for some months because of Covid-19 in 2020 – is unfortunate.
“So, the lingering crisis is condemnable in all ramifications.
“We can only call on the FG to rise to the occasion by listening to these children’s cries and their teachers, and attend to them as a matter of urgency,” Otubela told the News Agency of Nigeria on the sideline of the event.
According to him, children who often are expected to finish school under the age of 22 years or 23 years are now being pushed to leave schools at 25 or 27, whereas some organisations have set their recruitment age limit at 22 years.
“We are also creating a whole lot of children who are not going to be productive because some of them will get distracted from academics and might not return to school.
“The FG should not allow this to continue to degenerate into civil unrest or protest that can be hijacked by hoodlums.
“We should not allow brain drain in academics sector. FG should do everything within its capacity to fulfil promises to ASUU.”
On the championship, Otubela described the initiative as a good development, saying that students had given good account of themselves in the pronunciation of English language words without mother tongue interferences and “we are indeed proud of them.”
According to him, the contest will instill in pupils courage and confidence to be able to speak eloquently whenever they are called for any public speaking, debates and competitions.
The Executive Chairman, Prime-Agege Local Council Development Area, Mr Johnson Babatunde, who described the initiative as great, said it is a wake up call for every meaningful Nigerian to give hope of better tomorrow to school children.
Mr Jide Ologun, a legal practitioner and Managing Executive Officer, Transformation Opportunity Providers, TOP, Foundation, who noted that the championship had become imperative for school children to communicate effectively globally, commended the organisers for enhancing education fortune of younger generation.
Dr Feyikemi Oyaleke, the Convener, said her passion for education and love for good speaking and articulation of English language motivated her to set up the organisation to help students speak right anywhere.
Oyaleke, who noted the debut which was planned for five years, drew students from 17 private and public schools in the Lagos State Ministry of Education District I comprising Agege, Alimosho, and Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Areas.
The convener said that the championship would go round the six education districts in the state where finalists would contest and the overall winner would emerge.
According to her, repositioning educational system in the country must start with the teachers’ training and grooming.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Master Ireoluwa Shittu, an eight-year-old primary three pupil of Great Level School emerged the winner in the Junior Primary Category while Miss Testimony Fatoke of Alpha Rehoboth Montessori School came second.
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