Plans have been perfected by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to commence the closure of over 556 illegal and sub-standard private schools across the territory, Inside Abuja has gathered. FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, it was learnt would soon flag-off the exercise in any of the illegal schools marked for closure within the nation’s capital.FCT MINISTER

Bello had expressed concerns over the quality and standard of many private schools operating in Abuja when he met recently with representatives of landlord association in Nyanya. The minister lamented that the environment where most of the so-called private schools operate is not conducive for teaching and learning even as he said some of the schools are sited near brothels while some are in dilapidated structures.

It could be recalled that the Department of Quality Assurance of the Education Secretariat had a couple of weeks ago embarked on sensitisation of closure of all illegal schools in the six area councils in the territory. During the sensitisation campaign, the Director, Department of Quality Assurance, FCT Education Secretariat, Mr. Didam Ayuba advised parents to withdraw their children from 556 illegal schools in the territory.

Ayuba maintained that the department would soon follow up the awareness campaign with an intensive closure of all identified unregistered and substandard schools in the territory, noting that most of the schools are make-shift structures and operate in unhealthy environment.

“The message to parents in FCT is that most of these schools are not only unregistered, but there are no standard educational facilities for children to learn. Therefore, parents should stop sending their children to such schools. “We have very many public schools around, so, I don’t know why parents would send their children to substandard schools.

This is because, in public schools, we have standard structures, qualified teachers and lot of teaching material,” he stressed. The director further revealed that the decision to close down such schools was to eradicate the dangers they posed to the academic, emotional and psychological development of the pupils, stressing that the identified schools lack basic or standard facilities for the academic growth of the pupils. “It is not by adding private to the name of a school that makes it a good school, parents should send their children to LEA schools where there are qualified teachers and facilities,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, during the exercise in Kuje, the Deputy Director, Registration and Accreditation, Department of Quality Assurance, Hajya Hadiza Mamman, cautioned operators of one of the affected schools to stop running the schools or face the wrath of the government.

Asked why the department did not prevent the proliferation of the schools, the deputy director said: “The problem we have is that these schools are established in remote places without our knowledge; making it difficult for monitoring and inspection that could lead to closure of such schools before now.”

Some of the schools visited are located in murky areas with some of them built in floodprone areas. Some of the affected schools visited are Raphil Nursery and Primary School, Kado Life Camp with about 25 to 30 pupils cramped into a poorly ventilated classroom.

Other schools visited in the Life Camp area are Destiny Nursery and Primary School and Fountain of Peace School where primary one to five pupils were put into one classroom, while some schools visited in Lugbe on the airport road, serve as both school and church.

One of such schools is the Signs and Wonders Academy located in Tudun Wada, Lugbe where a portion of the church auditorium has been segmented into primary one and two. Our correspondent also reports that the Winners Secondary School and the Goodness Nursery and Primary Academy in Tudun Wada are both located on a flood plain, which poses a threat to the lives of the pupils in the event of a heavy rainfall and sudden flood.

Speaking to our correspondent in an interview, the proprietor of Signs and Wonders Academy located in Tudun Wada, Lugbe who refused to volunteer his name said that he established the school to render service to the less privileged who cannot afford the luxury of profile private schools in the territory.

“If you see the list of enrolment, you will discover that they are mostly orphans and children of the extremely poor background that are in the school. Our mission is not to make money as a church, but to assist the less privileged in the society,” he claimed.

The proprietor who is also the General Overseer of Signs and Wonders Bible Church used the church auditorium during week days for academic session, while weekends are used for church activities. He, however, revealed that he charges N8,000 per term for pupils in primary school, while students in secondary level pays N15,000 per term. Also, the proprietor of Fountain of Peace School located in Idu Karimo, Mr. Ebere Sunday, also claimed that he established the school to assist the poor in the society.

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