5th July, 2010
Sometime ago, the Lagos State government embarked on the closure of private schools it considered below standard in terms of the learning facilities in such schools. The closure which was spearheaded by the Deputy Governor Sarah Sosan, who is in charge of the education ministry, generated a lot of outcry to the extent that the government was compelled to soft-pedal on the crackdown.
In the wake of the crackdown, a lot of questions were raised, one of which was: Why was the government which had not put its house in order closing private schools at such a short notice? It was believed that most public schools in the state were in worse state than the private schools the government was trying to shut down. The hue and cry forced the government to do a rethink, thus giving the private schools a breather to improve on their facilities.
By asking the private schools to upgrade their facilities, the government meant well but the time given the schoolsâ€™ authorities to do so was too short. These schools need huge resources to meet the standard required. Some have to obtain loans from financial institutions and this takes time.
This, coupled with other constraints, cannot allow for immediate implementation of the governmentâ€™s directives to the private schools. A long period should be given to the authorities of the private schoolsÂ to enable them source for funds to upgrade their schools. We are not saying that mushroom schools should be allowed to thrive.
The state government itself is not finding it easy rehabilitating public schools that are in very bad shape. A lot of them are still grappling with so many problems suchÂ as lack of chairs and tables for teachers and pupils, dilapidated classrooms, buildings without roofs, generally poor learning environment, etc.
In fact, in some schools, students learn under trees. In some of these schools, pupils sit on bare floor to learn. Itâ€™s really appalling.
However, itâ€™s not all sad tales as governmentâ€™s efforts to rehabilitate some of its schools is gathering steam. Community Junior High School, Surulere, Agidingbi Grammar School, Army Cantonment Secondary School, Ikeja, to mention a few, have all undergone a befitting face-lift to the delight of parents and students of such schools.
We expect the government to continue to set the pace in this direction so that proprietors of private schools will be sufficiently challenged to meet the standard required of them. It is always better to remove the log in oneâ€™s eye so that one can see properly to remove the speck in the other personâ€™s eye.