The Civil Liberties Organisation, Akwa Ibom State chapter on Thursday asked the state government to address the massive rot in its school system before looking at the decay in private schools in the state.
The organization said this following the massive close down of alleged illegal and substandard private schools across the three senatorial districts in the state by the state Ministry of Education.
The state chairman of the CLO, Franklyn Isong, in a statement in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State said though the organization was in support of government’s initiatives to sanitize the system it must first address certain fundamental issues in public schools system.
Isong drew the attention of the state government to a publication in the media in 2018, which accused the PDP led government of neglecting the sector leading to infrastructural decay.
He regretted that rather than taking advantage of the report to reform the sector government decided to politicise issues in the report.
Isong said, “CLO recognizes the right of the Akwa Ibom State government to regulate, supervise and set standards for the operation of educational institutions, especially at the nursery, primary and secondary school levels in the State
“We appreciate the efforts of the government to ensure that Akwa Ibom youths are properly educated to enable them to compete favorably in an increasingly competitive environment of a globalized world.
“It is, however, the wish of the Civil Liberties Organisation to point out a number of issues that the government must first address before proceeding to sanitize the school environment.
“The CLO wishes that government takes another look at the state of learning and teaching environment in public schools, which necessitated the rush by parents to withdraw their wards from public schools.
” It is instructive that even teachers in public schools do not send their children to public schools, let alone the well-heeled government officials and civil servants in the State.
“The proliferation of private schools in the State is as a result of the comatose nature of standards in public schools. These schools sprang up to fill the existing gap in education at that level. So the government must, as a matter of urgency, rise to its responsibilities by ensuring that the standards they wish the private schools to have, must first, be maintained by the government in public schools.
” Government cannot be carrying a log in its eyes and expect to remove the speck in the eyes of the so-called, “illegal” schools.
“It is sad to note that many communities in the State have no public schools at the primary and secondary school levels. So, the now “illegal” schools came as a result of such gaps. For a very long time now, successive governments have not deemed it right to establish new schools in the State.
“CLO urge the Akwa Ibom State government to first rehabilitate existing public schools all over the State, equip them to make way for more conducive learning and teaching environment. Recruit more teachers, retrain those already in service, give them befitting remuneration and cater for the welfare of retired teachers in the State”
He called on the state government to commence the immediate and massive establishment of schools to shorten the distances children
travel before they get to a public school.
He said rather than shutting down the affected schools, they should be given the standard required by government and a window period to shape up or be closed down.