The Senate Joint Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary) and Health on Monday in Abuja called for increased private sector participation in the education sector.
Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Aliyu Wamakko made the call during a public hearing to investigate the outbreak of epidemic which affected 39 students and led to the death of three students of Queens College, Lagos in 2017.
“It is so sad that we believe that government alone should take full responsibility of education in the country.
“The society has a role to play to make the sector grow.
“All hands must be on deck to ensure that we get the necessary facilities and policies to move the education sector forward.
“We don’t want to wait for someone to solve the problems for us in the name of government,” Wamakko said.
Earlier, the Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Olajide Idris, said that the outbreak of the epidemic which led to the death of the students, was caused by contaminated water.
Represented by Dr Erinosho Eniola, Director of Disease Control, said that findings from investigation carried out by a committee set up by the state government to contain the epidemic also showed that disease causing organisms on some food utensils.
According to him, result from laboratory investigations on blood and stool samples of some affected students showed that the organisms came from contaminated water.
“Based on the analysis of the samples and the result, we were able to confirm there was an outbreak and that the findings were consistent and compatible with outbreak of endemic fever and there was high risk of spread of infection by spread of water sources and infection by the food handlers, “ he said.
He also said that the school hostels and toilets were not in good conditions.
“Though the school environment was neat but the toilets were in bad condition. There was no water to flush some of those toilets
“We also inspected the hostels and we found out that they were unkempt, overcrowded and the mosquito nets damaged,” Idris said.
He, however, said that the committee recommended treatment of all water points and replacement of water treatment plant in the college.
“The committee also recommended periodic test for food handlers in the school because the kitchen staff were only tested when they were engaged
“There is the need for the construction of new hostel blocks to reduce congestion in the school, “ he added.