Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Ekiti State Governor, has raised concern over the continuous increase of out-of-school children in the state.
Fayemi said the State which was ranked first on school enrolment ladder, had slumped due to the N1,000 per term tax policy introduced by the administration of Ayodele Fayose.
Fayemi stated this on Monday at the Holy Trinity Primary School in Ilawe Ekiti while flagging -off enrolment of pupils for 2019/2020 academic session.
The governor maintained that the education policy has forced poor parents to keep their children of school age at home, thereby increasing the number of out of school children in Ekiti.
He said in view of the fact that Ekiti ranked last among the six southwest states in school enrolment in 2018, propel him to make several intervention moves to tackle the increasing out of school syndrome in the state.
Fayemi added that available statistics showed that Nigeria has high number out of school children globally and that no efforts must be spared to reduce the scourge in Ekiti.
He said, “Ekiti was leading before I left in 2014 in school enrolment, but our enrolment 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 enrolment 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 for of tax in public and private schools . We also paid a sum of N4billion as 2016, 2017 and 2018 counterpart funds to UBEC, embark on rehabilitation of infrastructure, provision of furniture and instructional materials, introduce School Feeding programme, payment of salary to teachers among others as part of the ways to increase school enrolment and retain other gains in education sector.”
He however assured that his government won’t hesitate to enforce the Child’s rights law and UBEC Law, to ensure pupils have access to basic education, adding government has also entered into special partnership with world bank to increase gilrl child education in Ekiti.
The governor also assured that the ongoing recruitment of teachers into primary schools will be transparent and merit based.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board(SUBEB), Professor Francesca Aladejana, said the government has procured 8,072 units of plastic pupils furniture, renovate 83 blocks of classrooms and constructed 3,375 metallic lockers, among others in the last 11 months.
Aladejana said SUBEB has also been engaging the parents and guardians across communities on the need to pay premium interest to the education of their pupils.