By Stanley Onyekwere
There are mounting palpable tension and despair among stakeholders in many private schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), following the decision of the FCT’s Education Secretariat to close down over a hundred of private schools across the territory, for their alleged inability to meet up with the required standards.
The Secretariat through its department of Policy and Implementation recently published the names of schools that are due for immediate closure, citing lack of due registration, standard structures, and school playing fields among others as reasons for the move.
As expected, the move has continued attracting strong criticisms from owners of the affected schools as well as some stakeholders, expressing fears that it would cause a major educational crisis in satellite communities in FCT They argued that the development is a threat to meeting the educational needs of people as the few public schools in the Territory lack the capacity to accommodate the upsurge of pupils in the rural communities should the ‘close down’ directive be enforced.
Peoples Daily gathered that in Dutse-Alhaji, a suburb of the FCT, about ten private basic schools are to be closed down in the community alone.
A Teacher, Idoko Mark, who described the decision as unfortunate, said a situation where there is only one small public primary school in Dutse-Alhaji, the authorities are seriously talking about shutting
down a significant number of basic schools owned by private citizens in the community.
He maintained that the decision may just end up adding to the out-of-school children crisis being faced in the Territory and the country at large.
“There is only one small public primary school (LEA Dutse-Alhaji) in the community, but government is trying to close about ten private schools.
“Will LEA Dutse-Alhaji accommodate the hundreds of students that will be displaced by the decision as directed by the FCT administration,” asks the teacher.
Another resident of the area, who berated the FCT administration for its inability to create additional schools despite the continued upsurge of the population in the FCT, saying it only encourage the
establishment of ‘mushroom schools.’
“It is only few people that can afford the standard schools, because the government school is not accessible to most children because of the poor in the society.
“That is why parents take their children to schools that they can afford in their neighborhoods,” he stressed.
On her part, a parent, Jimoh Abu, noted that although there is nothing wrong for government to shut down sub-standard schools, but it should first establish more.
“If government want to close the sub-standard schools is okay, but they should create more schools before doing that,” he said.