The Director General of Revive Africa Initiative Amb. Ugagaoghene Ogheneyole N has called on the Delta state Government to exercise restrain on the planned demolition of alleged unregistered private schools, saying it is counter productive.
Addressing the press during world girl child day celebration in Asaba, He said “I must admit that the Delta state commissioner for basic and secondary education has made some commendable moves since his appointment, such as teachers recognition and awards and other reforms he is introducing in public schools, but it is become obvious that he is in a rush to deliver, and when you do things in such a rush, without proper consultation and due process, you tend to make a lot of heinous mistakes”.
He went further to state that currently almost all Government schools in Delta state are over crowded, sighting instances of west end school that has to run morning and afternoon sections because of population and yet the classes are over crowded, he also mentioned the sate model school which is current toy carrying beyond its capacity. Hence it is unwise for the state Government to be contemplating shutting down schools now.
Also it is expected that where there are concerns, it is not enough for the commissioner to act on the position of the association of private schools owners alone, he would have consulted more widely, probably through town halls and other means of public engagement. I feel that the Commissioner have not followed due process he said, if you feel there are lots of schools operating illegally, what you should do is to reach out to these school operators and give them a deadline to register with clear conditions for registration, also ran it the process of registration to reflect international best practice like what was done with fast track initiative.
Then when operators fails to meet deadline you can take actions of shutting the schools down not even demolition. But rather than do this, the commissioner after meeting with association of private school owners announced an embargo on registration if schools, then the next thing we heard is that he is shortlisting unregistered schools for demolition, where in the world is that done? First your stop people from registering their schools then you went further to demolish their schools? It is a step in the very wrong direction and will be counter productive. He said” let me site another example, from infant Jesus Anwai Road and from midwifery junction apart from the state model school meant for few, and with high tuition, you only have west end end secondary school to Carter for the huge population in that area, the few registered bug private schools are very expensive and unaffordable by the poor masses, the only succour for parents are these private schools that are struggling to register, then you come in as a commissioner and shut the doors of registration against them and goes ahead to demolish their schools.
As a government have you considered the rippled effect on the struggling masses? Have you considered how many people this action will throw out of job, have you considered the effects of damaging their properties?, some one mates a loan to arrest a structure, then you come in and demolish it just like that, at least if you shut it down he can convert the structure for other business, but more importantly has the government made necessary arrangement to cushion these effects and provide more schools to Carter for the demanding population that these schools are servicing?
We are calling in Delta state government to exercise restrain before they further inflict hardship on people and send many children out of schools. Lastly with the rush in this process, I believe there is a sinister motive behind this actions, for you to suddenly shut down further registration if schools and immediately proceed to demolish yet to be registered school, we think the commissioner is deliberately conniving with ‘re owners of the bigger private schools to eliminate competition posed by these smaller private schools struggling to register and Mark my word, this action will be resisted in a way that the Government did not envisage.
We call on the authority to please see reasons and prevail on the Commissioner of education to handle issues with a more human face.