Written by Austine ELEMUE

FCTA canvasses alternative funding for basic education

As part of efforts to address the challenge of adequate funding of public education in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA, said it is imperative to have alternative way in funding Basic Education in Abuja. 

FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, stated this in Abuja, at a one day education stakeholders’ conference on sustainable funding options for FCT schools/vocational centers, just as he lamented that adequate funding has always been a challenge in public education. 

Ohaa said the challenge of adequate funding for public education has always been a challenge, noting that the challenging economic situation has also encouraged many parents to withdraw their children from private institutions and enroll them in public schools. 

According to him, "The attendant result is that our facilities become over stretched and this puts a lot of pressure on government to provide amenities in terms of classrooms, school furniture, instructional materials and so on. 

"The need to seek for alternative sources of funding outside of government subsections has therefore become imperative. Government alone cannot and indeed should not be left alone to fund education. 

"It is therefore gratifying to note that the focus of this conference is to address issues concerning the proper management of school resources and also seek other options for the adequate funding of FCT public schools and vocational centers". 

While commenting on the theme for the conference: 'Seeking Sustainable Option so for Funding of Public Schools/Vocational Centers in the FCT', Ohaa, therefore tasked participants at the conference to ensure they make meaningful presentations and contributions in order to come up with satisfactory framework. 

Earlier in his address, the Mandate Secretary for Education, Dr. Bala Liman, lamented illegal fees and charges that pupils and students pay at the public schools, noting that it must be addressed. 

He said it was imperative to address the issue of how free education is in FCT, in the light of some charges pupils/students have to pay in public schools, the variations in school charges among basic schools, stressing that some of the money are collected in cash while others are paid into the bank. 

According to him, "It is therefore became necessary that a conference of all relevant stakeholders be convened to examine the extent to which the issues listed above impact on education delivery in the public schools/vocational centers and to consider the broader issue of funding options for these schools/vocational centers in order for them to avoid the temptation to engage in the unwholesome practices, and more importantly to provide them resources for optimal performance. 

"The significance of this conference derives from the fact that FCTA public schools/vocational centers cannot be allowed to engage in charging illegal fees or other unprofessional conducts, given the resources which government and partner agencies are providing for infrastructure and other services".   

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