By Okeoghene Akubuike
The Joint Education Stakeholders Action Coalition (JESAC) says it has started mobilisation of its 24 million members to support and elect education-friendly leaders in the 2019 general election.
Mr Ike Onyechere, the National Coordinator, JESAC, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.
NAN reports that JESAC, launched in 2010 is a voluntary political action coalition of 19 education unions and associations that span the entire spectrum of the education sector from primary to tertiary.
Onyechere said that the mobilisation of the 24 million stakeholders would be formally flagged off during the JESAC National Consultative Conference from Dec. 17 to Dec. 20 in Abuja.
”Political parties and candidates will present their education scorecards or manifestos for critical assessment by stakeholders, with a view to decide on candidates that will be voted for by the 24 million JESAC members.
“The members include concerned parents; education officers; administrators; teaching and non-teaching staff and students in education ministries; agencies; institutions; education unions and associations across the country.
“The scorecards and manifestos of parties and candidates for 2019 elections will be assessed based on 100 factors divided into 10 sub-groups.
“The assessment of scorecards and manifestos is not based on subjective, parochial and emotional considerations; rather it is an objective procedure based on the use of the JESAC education performance audit instrument.”
According to him, JESAC believes that the deep-rooted structural challenges in the education sector can only be resolved with bold, visionary and strategic leadership actions and not by routine administrative fixes.
He said that operators of the education system in the country were often compelled to resort to extreme measures of agitation and strike actions, “just as it is presently happening”.
“This is in the attempt to get political leaders to commit the necessary leadership, political will and financial resources to resolve the challenges in the sector and set it on the part of transformation.
“The 24 million members of JESAC have the power to transform the education sector if they bond, campaign, work and vote together to elect ethics and education-friendly leaders in 2019.
“Leaders who can summon the vision, political will and courage to commit and manage the huge resources required for transformation of education. With such leaders, agitations and strikes will become unnecessary.
”This has been done and it is not just theory; I recall that in 2010 we had the very first JESAC and it was addressed by the presidential candidates,” Onyechere said.
He said that on Oct. 28, 2010, that President Muhammadu Buhari, as the presidential candidate of Congress for Progressive Change and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, as Action Congress candidate, addressed JESAC-in-session on their plans for education.
He said that in 2015, JESAC worked at the state levels and in 2018 it would work at the national level which would move down to the state levels.
“Nothing is more important for the development of Nigeria than the election of visionary, ethics and education-friendly political leaders that can drive the transformation of education, which forms the foundation of all other developmental efforts.”
Onyechere listed the inaugural members of JESAC to include Nigeria Union of Teachers; Association of Primary School Head Teachers of Nigeria; All Nigerian Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools; Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities.
Others are Non Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions; Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics; Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union; National Parent Teachers Association of Nigeria.
According to him, other members are from the Senior Staff Union of Colleges of Education; Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics; National Parents Association of Federal Unity Secondary Schools.
The remaining members are the National Association of Education Secretaries of Nigeria; National Association of Exam Ethics Students of Nigeria and Exam Ethics Marshals International.