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Ebeku Warns Proprietors Against Reopening Closed Schools

…As Reactions Trail Figures Of Accredited Institutions

The Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku has warned proprietors of closed private schools in the state not to resume operation on Monday alongside other schools that met its requirements for accreditation.

…As Reactions Trail Figures Of Accredited Institutions

The Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku has warned proprietors of closed private schools in the state not to resume operation on Monday alongside other schools that met its requirements for accreditation.

He also cautioned parents and guardians still patronising such schools to send their wards to schools, which met the criteria that were set last year.

The Commissioner warned on Sunday that government would clampdown on any school that was denied accreditation, but decided to resume operation.

Ebeku said, “All public and private schools in Rivers State will resume for normal academic activities on Monday January 6, 2020. for the second term.

“All unapproved private schools should not resume. Parents and guardians are reminded that they should send their wards to only private schools approved by the state government.”

Recall that Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, had in 2019 set up a committee headed by Professor Ozo Mekuri Ndimele for the accreditation and approval of private schools, a move designed to improve quality education in the State.

No fewer than 437 private schools, which failed to meet the requirement during the exercise were closed.

Meanwhile reactions have trailed the figures published by the government after the committee completed its assignment of identifying schools that met operational criteria and vice versa.

It would be recalled that out of a total number of 2,511 schools which applied for the accreditation, 1,415 schools were fully accredited while 659 schools were granted interim accreditation and 437 schools were denied operational approval.

Reacting on the development, a civil society group, Education Mandate said they were not satisfied with the work of the committee, arguing that the number of application fell short of the actual number of schools in the State.

“From the last time we checked, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area alone has over 10,000 private schools in operation.  So how could the committee accept application from a paltry 2,511 schools from the whole State?” queried the spokesperson of the group, Chidi Atonye in an interview with National Network on Monday.

Similarly, checks on five privately owned schools in sections of Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas with students population of no less than three thousand, revealed that they never applied or participated in the accreditation exercise carried out by the Prof. Ndimele Committee last year.

Others who spoke to our correspondent blamed the bodies of private school owners, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) and Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED) for 'misleading' and 'defrauding' their members into believing they would get the necessary approval from government.

“I bet you that majority of the schools which failed to get approval either belonged to NAPPS or AFED.  They have been ripped off by these bodies, paying the necessary fees imposed on them with hope of getting approval all to no avail”, said Mr. Harry Ibim, a parent who feared that he  may not afford to send his wards to the 'approved schools' due to the hard economic times.

A call to officials of AFED in Rivers State yielded no positive response as State Chairman, Pastor Joe Udechi and Secretary, Uche said they would return call in 'an hour's time' but never did until press time.