BY ARCHIBONG EYO, CALABAR –
The Cross River State Government is to wield the big stick on illegal and poorly-equipped private Secondary/Primary Schools in Ogoja and Yala Local Government Areas of the State.
For operating outside the ambit of existing laws, the Schools penciled down for sanctions are Little Saints Nursery/Primary School, Ogoja; Lighthouse Secondary School, Ogoja; Bright Future Schools, Yala; and Christ Ambassadors Nursery/Primary Schools, Ogoja among others.
The Chairman, Cross River State House of Assembly (CRSHA) Special Investigation Committee on Private Schools, Hon Hillary Bisong, who dropped the hints, said recommendations for the immediate closure of the affected institutions have already received the blessings and endorsement of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in the State.
Bisong, who spoke during the Committee’s inspection visit to private schools in Ogoja and Yala local government councils, observed that the said schools presently lacked the basic requirements and facilities to operate as standard institutions capable of delivering quality educational services to students within and outside their domains.
He said the exercise, which commenced from the Southern Senatorial district of the State, is among steps being taken by the State Government to demonstrate its commitment towards providing qualitative education for Cross Riverians.
According to him, this resolve by government informed the setting up of the Special Investigation Committee, with the mandate to evaluate the quality and standard of schools’ infrastructure; enrollment capacity; available facilities; registration status; and the quality of teachers as well as the general operational environment.
The lawmaker praised the management of some schools visited by the Committee for meeting required standards of operation. Among institutions that got kudos from the Committee are: La Kate Model Academy, Ogoja; Vathhando International School, Yala; and Victory Secondary School, Ogoja. Others include: Excel Nursery/Primary School, Yala; Glado Computer College, Yala; and Bedon School, Yala.
The Committee Chairman, who had earlier addressed members of NAPPS in the Northern Senatorial District, assured that adequate measures will be taken to tackle the menace of illegal private schools in the state, adding that the alarming rate of establishing illegal private schools as well as their harmful activities were inimical to the expected growth and development in the State education sector.
He commended members of NAPPS that have been doing business legally across the state and assured them of government’s support at all times in order to give the education sector the required push going forward.
In his remarks, a member of the Committee, Hon. Ogbor Ogbor urged the Association to collectively work towards meeting the operating quality and standard of education in the State, stressing that education should primarily be service-oriented with less focus on profit making by the proprietors.
Another legislator, Hon Regina Anyogor emphasized the need for quality teaching and learning in the State school system and challenged teachers not to renege on their civic responsibility to the society.
She said the Committee’s visit is not meant to instill fear in the proprietors, but only aimed at ensuring the system is sanitized and the expected high standard of education maintained across the State.
On his part, a NAPPS representative, Prof. Wonah Odaji, who is the proprietor of Odaji Agbo Vocational Technical College, solicited Government support to enhance the growth and development of private schools in the State.
And in a rare show of solidarity with government’s efforts at ridding the education system of illegal operators, members of NAPPS endorsed the moves at enforcing the closure of all illegal institutions currently operating in the state.