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ASUU has made great sacrifice for Nigeria, FG should meet demands, School owner, Felix Opata

A private school owner and Director of Studies, Ferscoat International School, Ipaja, Lagos, Mr Felix Opata, has urged the Federal Government to, without further argument nor delay, meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) whose members have down tools since February.

He made the appeal on Thursday at a news conference in Lagos ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Ferscoat group of schools.

He said the striking lecturers have made enormous sacrifices for Nigeria, particularly by producing future leaders in spite of the unfavourable landscape they are operating and therefore deserve commensurable treatment from the government.

He said for the industrial action to have been prolonged this long and students to remain idle at home and the government seems not to bother about the dangers and consequences of the development and get the issues in contention resolved even long before now is worrisome and condemnable.

He said ASUU demands are genuine as the aim is to get the decaying public university system fixed so that Nigerian universities can be able to carry out their tripartite mandate of teaching, research and community service optimally as it is the practice in developed climes.

Opata said there is no option but for the government to give the right priority to the education sector by funding it properly so that Nigeria can move out from among poor nations of the world.

Speaking about Frescoat International School, Opata said running private schools successfully in Nigeria is challenging, especially in the face of government multiple taxations, inflation and poor social amenities in the country.

He said that 30 years journey of Frescoat School which started with two students and now has about 1,000 students enrolment in both primary and secondary sections is made possible only by the grace of God and the sheer commitment of leadership, workers and parents.

He said the school with equipped science laboratories, music room, ICT lab, CCTV, and library, has produced more than 2,200 alumni and that many of them who passed out some years ago are doing well in their respective fields.

He said the school does not only have zero tolerance for social ills such as examination malpractice and bullying but will immediately show any student or teacher that is indulged in any of such practices a way out.

He said both the parents and teachers are aware of the school’s stance on exam malpractice and other vices and therefore will not encourage their children and students respectively to indulge in such.

“So, besides that we group our students in classes according to their ability to assimilate, we also ensure we inculcate moral values and entrepreneurship spirit in them as well as exposing them to extra-curriculum activities so as to become well-rounded students,” he said.

Highlighting activities of the two-month long 30th anniversary which is commencing on October 15, Opata listed medical checkups, health walk, community service, literacy and debate, visit an orphanage, display of art collections, new school building dedication, book launch and thanksgiving event.

He said the programme is to thank God for His support and benevolence thus far and also ask Him for continuous support.

Earlier, the principal of the school, Mr Frederick Opata, conducted newsmen on facility tours around the school including hostels, saying the aim is to enable them to have a fair assessment of the school.

He added that as the school is improving in its facilities so likewise not taking the welfare of workers with levity.

He said unlike, in many private schools where worker retention is a problem because of their hostile unfavourable working conditions, some teachers in Frescoat School have spent up to 25 years.

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