Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Panic has gripped owners of private schools in Bayelsa State as the state government has concluded plans to clamp down on sub-standard private schools in the state.
Investigations revealed that there are over 500 private primary and secondary schools in the state that were previously duly registered with the state Ministry of Education, but lack basic educational facilities to justify the huge amount of school fees the students pay.
However, worried by the over proliferation of private schools in the state, several complaints had been lodged with the Bayelsa State House of Assembly and the state government calling for a regulation of the activities of the private schools.
Commissioner for Education in the state, Hon. Jonathan Robinson Obuebite, in an interview said the state government has concluded plans to shut down schools that do not meet the standard to be refer to as private schools.
Obuebite, who disclosed that the government decision has been presented, in a meeting, with owners of private schools operators, in the state, said there was no going back on the action which he said is to save the education sector in the state.
He explained that as part of the reforms it is carrying out in the education sector, it has also beamed its search light on private schools that swindle Bayelsans in the name of private schools.
While lamenting the sub standard facilities and non-qualified teaching staff are being used in the private schools, Obuebite said the education ministry has gone round and has compiled the names of the schools to be shut down to save parents from falling victims.
“We have proliferation of private schools. Here in Bayelsa just one small room or one bed room is a private school. We have gone round; we have investigated and compiled all schools that are qualified to be private schools in the state. We are going to publish the names of these schools through the media.
“We don’t want our people to be victims as most of these schools are not qualified to be private schools. The state government would deny them accreditation to write national examinations. We have over 500 private schools and half of them are going to be closed down.
“Some we are going to encourage to improve based on the facilities that they have, but more than half of them would be shut down. The state government is not doing this in isolation but in agreement with the association of private schools for a meeting for the first time.
“We have also met with the union. Some of them have certificate of registration and we are going to de-register them, we are going to mention the name of the school, its location and the proprietor,” Obuebite said.