Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM



By Fidel Davy-Nedum

This year’s edition of the ERC free holiday coaching for indigent secondary school students in Ajegunle is set to commence on Monday 25 July 2016. It will run for about six weeks and end on Friday 2nd September 2016. The coaching, the 11th of its kind since 2005, will take place in the Ajegunle community of Lagos State. We urge students from SSS1 to SSS3 to come in their numbers. Last year, the coaching had about 500 students. We are also at the stage of assembling a team of volunteer teachers. Any interested volunteer is free to contact the ERC and DSM. As a rule, our volunteer teachers, many of whom are qualified young people from the community, do their job without expectation of payment.

Since 2005, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has been organizing the free coaching during the long vacation of public secondary school students. Over the last one decade, more than 4,000 students have passed through the coaching. Many of these students come from very poor homes and cannot afford the fee of coaching classes conducted during the long vacation at home by some tutorial centres owned by private profiteers, whose interest is to make profit. Fees of private coaching centres in the community cost around N1, 500; N2, 000; N3, 000 per month depending on the class and department the student belong in school. This is well above the means of low-income working class families who form the majority of the Ajegunle population.

Aside from aiding poor families, the free coaching is a key aspect of the ERC campaign against education underfunding. Over the years, the ERC has used the coaching to highlight the extreme exclusion from government funding that public schools in poor communities like Ajegunle suffer. At the end of the coaching, a public symposium is often organized which affords opportunity to engage in discussions with students, parents, teachers and the community about stepping up struggle on issues of funding of schools and absence of basic amenities in the community.