Over 250 private primary and secondary schools in Bayelsa State will soon be shut down for compromising standards, the state government said yesterday.
The government noted that its officials had gone round the state and discovered that the children in the state were not getting quality learning, vowing to ensure that all such schools are stopped from operating.
The Commissioner for Education, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, who spoke in Bayelsa, Yenagoa, the state capital, said he already had a list of all unqualified private schools in the state.
According to him, most of the affected schools would be denied accreditation/approval to take West Africa Examinations Council (JSS) and other national examinations done in the state.
“We have a problem of proliferation of private schools. Some private schools operate in one-bedroom flat and some in a single room. We have gone round; we have investigated and we have compiled all the schools that are not qualified in the private schools sub-sector in this state.
“They (unqualified private schools) will all be published in due course. We do not want our pupils to be pitied because most of these schools I am going to deny them accreditation to write junior WAEC or any other national examinations we do in this state.
“We have over 500 private schools and more than half of them are going. We have looked at the infrastructure; We have looked at the teachers’ needs, the environment, all those parameters we have put them together.
“However, we will encourage some of them to improve, looking at what they have and the location they are. But I tell you more than half of those schools are going to be closed down.
“I am not doing this in isolation. I met with them. For the very first time, all private school operators in the state were invited to a meeting in Yenagoa and we discussed all these issues. We also invited their unions to be part of the process.
“We have done our work and we will make it public so that individuals will not pay school fees to schools that will be closed down. Those schools that will not be registered will be deregistered. Some of them have certificate of registration, but we will de-register them,” he said.
Obuebite said the private schools were given a probation period to improve and put things in order, regretting that up until now, they had yet to act.