By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Towards its drive for an improved education system in the state, Akwa Ibom State Government has said that it will by next week, close down all illegal private schools operating in the state.
Commissioner for Education, Prof Nse Essien announced this during a meeting with proprietors of private schools under the aegis of National Association of Proprietors of private schools (NAPPS) in his office on Thursday.
Prof. Essien who decried the existence of illegal and unapproved schools in the State, disclosed that a comprehensive list of unapproved schools would be posted on the Ministry of Educations web site, social media platforms and dailies and warned that anyone who reopens schools closed by the ministry will be prosecuted.
He reiterated that reappraisal of approved schools would also be carried out soon to ensure the maintenance of standard and introduction of new ideas.
The education commissioner stressed the need for the provision of conducive learning environment by the proprietors while urging them to plough resources into building a sustainable system rather than focus on immediate gains.
While also urging the private school proprietors to forward their curriculum to the ministry, Prof Essien said, “The Ministry under his watch will review the condition for issuance of Authority to operate and also set up a committee to review the curriculum of schools to ensure compliance with acceptable standards”.
The Education Boss urged the school owners to embrace digital technology, the new direction in the scheme of things worldwide.
He disclosed that the state government was against all forms of illegal charges and has invested massively in the educational sector as seen in the prompt payment of salaries, the free and compulsory education scheme and building of 10 internet ready standard labs in each of the federal constituencies to give teachers and students maximum exposure
Prof Essien also mentioned that School Based Management Committee comprising of Paramount Rulers, Clan Heads, Prominent Sons of an area will be inuagurated in Government owned Schools to checkmate the activities of Teachers and Students in such areas.
He adviced NAPPS to adopt same at a lower level like Parents Teachers Association PTA, where Parents will partner with the Schools in delivering a better educational foundation to children.
The Commissioner intimated the private schools proprietors that a two day Education Summit is scheduled to hold in the State on the 5th and 6th of September where relevant stakeholders in Education sector will be in attendance to discuss on enhancing qualitative Education in the State.
Prof Essien in his address described NAPPS members as stakeholders in the eduction sector of the State and lauded them for their immense contributions to the development of the State so far, pledging that the ministry was ready to partner with them to sanitise the system and ensure remarkable progress.
The meeting which was intended to solidify a partnership arrangement also had in attendance the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Helen Ante and other management staff of the Ministry.
In their prayers, NAPPS through its secretary enjoined government to place a ban on the establishment of any private school pending when the sector will be sanitize.
NAPPS sued for government partnership with the body for a comprehensive list of illegal schools while urging government to establish a private schools regulatory board, appoint a Special Adviser on private school affairs and approve annual grants and soft loans to private schools.