■ Public schools in FCT now overburdened with growing number of enrollees
From FRED ITUA, Abuja
Mass exodus has hit private schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as parents and guardians who can no longer cope with the biting economic hardship have withdrawn their wards.
Acting Secretary of FCT Education, Mr. Musa Maikasuwa, who disclosed this in a chat with newsmen, said public schools in the territory are now overburdened with the growing number of enrollees in both primary and secondary schools.
He said in some instances, teachers in public schools rely on use of public address system during lectures. Maikasuwa lamented that the situation has also led to overpopulation in government-owned primary and secondary schools.
His words: “In some cases, we now use public address system to teach in classrooms. We are short-staffed and we need more teachers to cater for more students and pupils coming into our public schools. These are the challenges we are facing in the education secretariat of the FCT Administration. We appeal to people to understand and bear with us for now.
“The economic recession which has affected every facet of the Nigerian society has also not been kind to us in the education sector, considering that we provide what is essentially a public service.
“Education seems to be the most affected, considering the fact that it has direct impact on the everyday lives of the populace. We are overstretched and this means more pupils and students are in the classrooms and our furniture is over-used.
“This challenge, instead of weighing us down, simply brought out the best in us and we achieved feats this year that has been unprecedented in the FCT education sector. We are however re-strategizing to ensure that we close the gaps.”
Speaking on the menace of illegal private schools in the territory, Maikasuwa said in 2016, 556 illegal and substandard private schools were shut down by the Education Secretariat.
“We found schools located in flood plains. We also found some schools located right in the middle of markets and on top of dumpsters,” he said. “Apart from the inappropriate physical structures, we saw schools where there were teachers who failed their Senior Secondary School Examination.
“As expected, we met some level of resistance from the proprietors of these illegal schools, but we will continue to remain undeterred in our quest to ensure that only duly registered and accredited schools are allowed to operate in FCT,” he added.