By Adeyemi Adeleye
The St. Finbarrs’ College Old Boys Association (SFCOBA), Akoka, Lagos State, on Friday urged President Bola Tinubu not to pay lip service to education to tackle the nation’s numerous challenges.
The association gave the advice at its 25th Anniversary Reunion Celebration, which witnessed a novelty match, Grand Gala Night and landmark project unveiling of Class 98 in Lagos.
Speaking, Mr Eshiomomoh Ifoga, the Chairman of the SFCOBA ’98 Set, said that the new administration must prioritise investment in education sector and bridge the “yawning gap” between private and public schools.
“To stem this downward spiral, the Federal Government should increase the budgetary allocations to education.
“Nigeria is yet to meet the UNESCO benchmark of 26 per cent of national budget and six per cent of GDP.
“To overhaul the educational sector, the FG should pander towards a Public-Private Partnership (PPP),” Ifoga said.
According to him, since the return of the missionary schools to the Catholic Church, St. Finbarrs’ College, Akoka, has adopted a self-funding model and the school had over time forged a partnership with the Old Boys Association.
“The Old Boys Association has been involved in series of funds raising programmes for the school and this time around we are doing Luminous Signage for our alma mater.
“The SFCOBA’98 Set will align with the national body and make monetary donations (in form of scholarships) to fund the education of indigent students,” he said.
On various interventions by the alumni, the chairman said that the SFCOBA’98 Set had in the past made monetary donations to students who did exceptionally well in external exams like WAEC and NECO.
He said that the SFCOBA’98 Set was committed to making these donations a continuous practice.
“We have a firm belief that monetary rewards for excellent and exceptional results will spur the students to acing all their exams.
“At the national level, the federal government should set aside monetary incentives to deserving students who did exceptionally well in their exams.
“Such gestures will largely drive healthy competition amongst these students. Only indigent students in the public secondary schools should be direct recipients of such awards in my opinion,” Ifoga said.
Ifoga said that though the school curriculum was within the purview of the Ministry of Education, the SFCOBA’98 Alumni Association would periodically organise seminars to expose students to hands-on and real life applications of subjects taught in the classroom.
Decrying the spate of cultism and widespread prevalence of drug abuse among secondary students, Ifoga urged the government to be more firm in stamping out the menace.
He said that the SFCOBA’98 Exco would organise seminars with experts drawn from various professional fields to disabuse the mind of students from cultism and substance abuse.
Ifoga added that the present secondary school curriculum might not produce students who could compete globally.
According to him, only students in heavily-funded private schools have access and exposures to these modern learning tools.
“The solution to this still boils down to extending a handshake of collaborations with the private sector. There are a plethora of companies run by seasoned edupreneurs,” he said.
In his welcome address, Mr Desmond Okoro, Chairman of the 25th Anniversary Reunion Committee called for a moment of silence to honour departed colleagues, teachers, and administrators who played pivotal roles in shaping their lives.
Okoro, who also paid tribute to their teachers, specially recognised the Principal Emeritus, Pa Alloysious Kpotie, for his contributions to their growth and success.
In his remarks, Mr Kayode Anibaba, a former Commissioner for Environment and Physical Planning in Lagos State, reminisced his time as a student and Mathematics teacher.
Anibaba also commended the set for their contributions towards the development of the school.
The School Administrator, Mr Victor Biyibi, described the Set as one of the prominent old boys association
Biyibi said that the outstanding performance of the current students had attracted students from the United Kingdom, Australia, America and Vietnam. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa