–         Blame Education Ministry for granting questionable approval

Stakeholders in the education sector including School Heads and parents have decried the alarming rate at which substandard schools are being established in different parts of the state leading to a sharp decline in the quality of teaching and learning.

Some parents who commented on the development blamed staff of the ministry of education whose duty and responsibility it is to inspect school premises and ensure that they meet required standard in respect of necessary facilities before given them approval of compromise and neglect.

According to them, “some of the so-called private schools, aside employing half backed, unqualified and inexperienced teachers, don’t even have enough teachers to go round all the classes. For instance, a school at Irette, in Owerri West Local Government Area that boasts of having crèche, Nursery, Primary and Secondary sections has less than 15 teachers for all the classes. Hence, one teacher handles Basic one to four, in addition to teaching two subjects in the Junior Secondary school section. What this means is that Basic 1,2 and 3 pupils who are between the age bracket of 6 and 8 years are most times left alone without supervision, despite the fact that they are likely to get involved in rough activities that may result in emergency situations”.

A parent whose children attend anther private school located at Orogwe also in Owerri West LGA, said, “I was astonished when I went to the school sometime last year to pay my children’s school fees. On getting there I saw a student who sat for West African School Certificate examination in June, whose result had not come out teaching J.S.S 1 students with the aid of his android phone from which he was down loading the information that he gave. This absurd, unacceptable and condemnable”.

Our roving reporter who visited some of the schools said, most of them don’t even have toilet facilities and water, hence the students and pupils are most time exposed to the danger of going outside to look for water during school hours, thereby exposing themselves to all kinds of hazards.

“Others, are located in make-shift structures constructed with corrugated iron sheets with exposed rusted nails that often inflict injuries on the innocent children.

Some of the schools that have toilet facilities hardly place premium on hygiene hence the foul odour that emanates from them are enough to cause health problems for the teachers and the children who should be protected against such health hazards occasioned by the inability of relevant agencies of government especially the Ministry of Education and the Examination Development Center EDC to ensure that all necessary conditions are fulfilled before granting approval to any person or group of persons to establish a school, adding that most people who neither have the necessary wherewithal nor the passion for the educational development of young ones now establish private schools as business ventures that are expected to yield maximum profit.

They called on the state government to halt the menace regulating the system with a view to separating the chaff from the grain.

Effort to reach the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education who now acts in the absence of a Commissioner proved abortive, as he was said to be in a meeting.