Delta Govt decries proliferation of illegal Schools

By Kelvin Ohoror

It has been revealed that 1,556 unapproved nursery/primary schools are operating in Delta state.

The revelation was made by the Department of Inspectorate/Quality Assurance of the Delta State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education during a meeting between the Commissioner in charge of the Ministry, Chief Sunday Onoriode and Secretaries of Local Education Authorities in the state.

Reacting to the development, Onoriode said the statistics are not only worrisome but also unacceptable as it paints a picture of the field officers failing in their duty to monitor establishment of schools.

The Commissioner found the Local Education Authority (LEA) Secretaries culpable, insisting that there was no way an illegal school could operate in any of the local government areas without their knowledge.

He said the Ministry would find a way to encourage the affected schools to commence their registration processes, pointing out that in as much as they were operating illegally and depriving the state government of the needed funds, they would be allowed some time to do the needful, failing which those to be found wanting would be sanctioned.

Onoriode stated that reports from the field officers were often stereotyped and did not reflect the current situations in the LGAs, including updates on retired/dead teachers, the state of infrastructure and furniture in the schools, staffing positions, among others.

The Primary Education Commissioner urged the Local Education Authority Secretaries to brace up to the challenge of raising standards in the education sector, just as he reminded them that there were the representatives of the Ministry in their LGAs o jurisdiction.

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In her contribution, Secondary Education Commissioner, Mrs Rose Ezewu, called on Chief Inspectors of Education, CIEs, who were also in attendance, to desist from scaring owners of the unapproved schools with high registration charges thereby discouraging them, while taking advantage of their Illegality.

Mrs Ezewu disagreed with the statistics of unapproved secondary schools in the state, which was put at 62 by the Inspectorate Department of her Ministry, insisting that the figure was far more than that.

In their separate remarks, some of the LEA Secretaries blamed the proliferation of unapproved schools on lack of enforcement of the extant laws and urged the Ministry to encourage the affected schools to commence their registration processes, rather than being hard on them, as they could contribute to taking the education sector of the state to greater heights.

The meeting, which also discussed the use of primary school facilities for meetings, social activities and programmes; the constitution and operation of school based management committees and coordinated supervision of primary schools, was attended by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Sir Augustine Oghoro; the Secretary of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Mr Bryon Unini, among others

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