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Abia shuts 197 substandard private schools

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By Abraham Adekunle

State government evacuates ASUBEB staff from a faulty building.

Abia State Government has closed 197 private schools. It cited that they were discovered during verification and assessment exercises to have operated below the government’s minimum standard. The exercise was to determine their level of compliance to minimum standards for private schools. The state’s Commissioner for Information and Culture, Okey Kanu, who announced this discovery at Government House in Umuahia while briefing journalists after the state’s weekly executive council meeting, said that their closure was also informed by the government’s determination to reform the education sector.

He said that most of the closed schools operated nursery, primary and secondary against government’s policy, adding that they were never certified to run that way. Kanu, who disclosed that about 900 schools have so far been inspected, revealed that the inspection of schools is ongoing and as of the last count, about 900 schools have been inspected. In his words, “A few of the schools are not so lucky, having failed the test of the required standards and were shut down.”

Staff of ASUBEB directed to relocate from faulty building.

Also, the state government had directed the staff of the Abia State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB) to relocate from the office building to avoid a possible catastrophe. According to Kanu, this is a proactive measure by the government, stressing that officials were doing everything possible to provide a permanent solution to that development. Also, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Ngozi Okoronkwo, who was in attendance, said that over 8,000 residents have accessed the ongoing free medical care being affected by the state government. She added that the process of enhancing the capacity of the Cottage hospital at Abayi, Aba would soon be completed.

Meanwhile, the shutdown of schools has been happening in other states of the federation. Kaduna State Schools Quality Assurance Authority (KSSQAA)’s director-general, Hajiya Umma K. Ahmad, on November 15, 2023, said that the authority has shut down 25 unregistered private schools within the metropolis in four days. She said that the majority of the schools closed were not conducive for learning, lamenting that animals cannot be reared in some as they were substandard.

Kaduna State also closed down 25 schools recently.

Explaining that some of the schools shut down were not registered with the state government, she noted that all efforts to make them see reasons to register failed as they refused to yield to advice given to them. Hajiya Ummah, who gave the update at a news briefing, said that the operations commenced on Monday and that the exercise will continue because they must ensure quality education for the children in the state. “Out of the 25 schools shut down, we have opened five schools because they have written an undertaking on when to come for their registration with the Authority,” she said.

She also urged other schools to ensure they register their schools because the agency will not allow unlicensed and unregistered schools to operate in the state. The director explained that part of the mandate of the State Schools Quality Assurance Authority was to monitor and regulate the activities of public and private schools. She added that the task force had representation from the Nigerian Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) owners so as to ensure justice and equity.

FCTA closed two substandard schools in October as well.

In October 2023, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) similarly closed two private schools for operating below the minimum standard. The affected schools were Erudite Bright Kids at Kagini and Jane’s Angela School in Abuja Municipal Area Council. The schools were closed during an operation to close all substandard schools operating in the territory. Mandate Secretary at the Education Secretariat of the FCTA, Dr. Danlami Hayyo, who led the team, explained that the measure was to ensure the quality of teaching and learning in these schools is standard. Hayyo said that the move was in line with the mandate of the Department of Quality Assurance, charged with the core responsibility of proper accreditation of schools, monitoring, and inspection.

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