By Dipo Olowookere
Owners of unregistered private schools in Lagos are in for a big trouble, the state government has disclosed.
From September 26, 2016, the state government will start to fish them out so as to shut them down.
Speaking at the third quarterly stakeholders’ forum of private schools owners held at the Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja on Monday, the Deputy Governor, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule, disclosed that this was in a determined effort to ensure that private schools operating in the State conform to the quality standard of education set by the government.
Dr Adebule emphasized Lagos State government’s determination to ensure that all school children have access to quality education irrespective of whether they attend private or public schools, adding that part of the tools at government’s disposal to achieve this objective is maintaining accurate and precise data on schools and their mode of operations, which she said the census seeks to achieve.
“The enumeration exercise is aimed at providing the State government with accurate data and necessary information on private schools so as to set effective quality control mechanism in place and monitor compliance,” she said.
The Deputy Governor, who sought the cooperation of all the stakeholders especially, proprietors of private schools to ensure the success of the exercise, noted that the task of making Lagos education a role model of excellence required that all stakeholders must consolidate on their energies, integrate their thoughts and ideals and work together as a team towards achieving the objective.
While maintaining that the foundation of quality human capital development is the primary and secondary institutions, she stated that all the relevant stakeholders in the education sector must be ready to follow the rules of engagement which she listed to include; ensuring that only qualified professionals with requisite training are recruited, providing good infrastructure for learning such as libraries, science laboratories as well as encouraging co- curricular activities such as debates, literary activities , science and sport competitions, voluntary societies or clubs so as to produce well rounded students that would help to drive the nation’s economy in the future.
She announced that a total of 119 prospective school owners that applied for registration have been granted provisional approval having met the guide lines set by the State government.
Dr Adebule warned that schools not registered or approved by the State Ministry of Education will not operate, noting that some schools failed to take the advantage the easy registration procedure put in place by the State government.
According to her, “Government is not comfortable with our discovery that over 15,000 private schools are operating in the State and only just 4,556 are approved and registered; Let me state it clearly, henceforth, Lagos State Government will no longer allow private schools that are not duly registered by the Lagos State Ministry of Education to operate in the State, their operation becomes illegal henceforth in the State.”
She explained that the State government was taking steps to intensify the upgrade of public school facilities through construction and rehabilitation of more classrooms, libraries and laboratories and further disclosed that the State Executive Council recently approved the sum of ten billion Naira for capital projects in public schools to cover construction, renovation and rehabilitation to ensure conducive learning environment in public schools.
Earlier in his welcome address, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mr Adeshina Odeyemi stated that the forum is aimed at evaluating educational progress of private school students in the State and how to bring about positive development.
He urged private school owners to cooperate with the State government in the implementation of quality educational policies and programmes that would help to raise the standard of education.