Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has criticized activists for free education in Nigeria, claiming they are not well informed about what it means to give free education at all levels.
Speaking at the 2014 series of the Obafemi Awolowo Free Education Lecture organised by the Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Fashola said free education could only be guaranteed at the primary and secondary level. He argued that education ends at the secondary level: other activities at the tertiary level can be described as specialisations.
He said, “What is the definition of education that must be free and which the state is duty bound to provide, and which the citizen is duty bound to take? These questions are important; those who chant Awolowo’s name in the quest for free education at all levels, have probably not done the cost of educating one child at primary level, let alone secondary and tertiary level levels which some people are clamouring for.
“And if these omissions by the protagonists are enough, they cannot provide any data about the number of beneficiaries, yet they say Awolowo would simply have done it. This is where they display their ignorance of the man whose name they use in vain to make loud attention-seeking noise.”
However, he asked people to stop comparing present educational policies to those of Awolowo.
Vice-Chancellor of OAU, Prof. Bamitale Omole, and Dean of Faculty of Education, Prof. Philip Jegede, urged all levels of government to make education a priority.
Activists for free education have been calling on the government to implement policies that will allow for education in the country to be at least tuition free.