By Henry Umoru
ENUGU—DEPUTY Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, yesterday asked the Federal Government to urgently return mission schools to their original owners.
Ekweremadu, who spoke at the 46th convocation of Bigard Memorial Seminary, Enugu, said the call became imperative because government had failed in building upon the successes recorded before the forceful takeover of the schools.
He also raised alarm over what he described as discriminatory practices in the admission of prospective students into public educational institutions.
Speaking yesterday in Enugu at the 46th Convocation of the Bigard Memorial Seminary, Senator Ekweremadu however drew the nation’s attention to how quality education had raised South Korea from the ruins of war and poverty at the end of the Korean War in 1953, to a global economic super-power, even with virtually no mineral resources.
The Deputy Senate President wondered which nation ever made progress by “admission policies and practices that lower the standard to accommodate some candidates at the expense of brighter students and merit, as is the case in Unity Schools, rather than ensure that every state raises the bar in terms of teaching and funding to enable their students match their peers from other parts of the country”.
According to him, the forced takeover of schools in the 1970s “should never have happened”, noting that such “punitive act, coupled with long years of military misrule threw the door of our educational system open to the evils of decadence, nepotism, poor funding, decrepit infrastructure, abandonment, mediocrity, immorality and indiscipline that ravaged other government-run institutions and services”.
Ekweremadu noted that the Church and other religious institutions, when they held sway, lifted the education sector to lofty academic, disciplinary, and moral standards.