Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Tough times await thousands of parents and guardians in Rivers following the State’s government directive to stop 437 private schools from operation.
The Rivers Government, through State Ministry of Education, banned the schools from resuming for the second term 2019/2020 academic session which will begin on Monday 6th January, 2020.
Findings revealed that if the state government goes ahead with the order, thousands of students and pupils may be forced out of schools as they may not be able to secure admission from the few schools available.
The 437 schools did not scale through the criteria set by the State Ministry of Education which was handed down to the Committee led by Professor Ozo Mekuri Ndimele, the Vice-Chancellor of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education to screen, accredit and approve the schools to operate.
After the screening exercise, the Committee had in its report denied accreditation/approval to 437 schools, which it said did not meet set requirements for the operations of private schools,; a move designed to improve quality education in the state.
The state now insists that unapproved schools remain banned and should not operate.
It will be recalled that the Rivers state Governor, Nyesom Wike, had also set up a Committee for accreditation and approval of Private schools.
The Committee, led by Professor Ozo Mekuri Ndimele, in its report denied accreditation/approval to 437 schools, which did not meet set requirements for the operations of private schools.
Subsequently, the state government directed that all schools denied approval to discontinue operations forthwith.
The state Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, speaking on the resumption of schools said on Friday that the directive on the ban of unapproved schools still subsists.
Professor Ebeku advised parents and guardians of pupils and students not to patronize unapproved schools, adding that such schools are illegal and should not resume.
He warned that anyone caught operating unapproved schools in the state will face appropriate sanctions of the law.
The Education Commissioner further said that the Rivers State government has made adequate provisions for the maintenance and functioning of public schools in the state, and cautioned Heads of public primary and secondary schools in the state not collect any fee from pupils and students, stating that any Principal or Head teacher that violates the directive will face appropriate disciplinary measures.