Reps back officials sending their children on overseas studies

Members of the House of Representatives on Thursday defended the right of public officials to send their children on overseas studies.

This follows a debate on a proposed bill focusing on strengthening Nigerian tertiary institutions. The bills also seeks to bar public officers from abandoning the indigenous public schools for foreign ones.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Sergius Ogun said the bill became important due to the “fallen (sic) standards in our educational system and the need to bring the sector up to speed with global best standards.”

Ogun said government’s failure “to provide quality education in its public educational institutions” is why “Nigerians have resorted to private schools and foreign schools” abroad.

“The United Kingdom, United States of America, Ukraine, Ghana, Malaysia, Egypt and South Africa, just to mention a few, have become choice destinations for Nigerians in search of quality education.

“The trouble with this is that most of those who patronise private owned educational institutions or those who travel abroad to study are children and wards of Nigerian public officers.

“These are the officers, who should take responsibility for the building of our public institutions,” he said.

Contributing, Rep. Chinyere Igwe said the bill“offends the fundamental human right, which guarantees freedom of movement”.

“Most public officers that send their children to school abroad don’t do that with public funds. I also don’t agree that is the reason the educational system in Nigeria is failing. I urge him to withdraw the bill, he said.

On his part, Rep. Toby Okechukwu says the proposed bill tends to ‘make public officers with children schooling overseas seem corrupt’. He said instead of barring the freedom of choice of individuals to send their wards to either local or foreign schools, the local educational sector should be developed.

Rep. Leke Abejide urged that the bill be withdrawn, stating that ‘many public officials had their children schooling abroad even before they became public officials’. Towing Abejide’s line, Rep. Nicholas Ossai said bill was “discriminatory”.
The bill was put to a vote and it was rejected by the lawmakers.

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