Following the preparation for school’s resumption in Nigeria, every State is working hard to set some basic standards for schools to conform with, before they would be allowed to re open.
In Rivers State, the emphasis seems to be on private Schools as against public and Government owned Schools. Both the Commissioner for Education and that of Water Resources and Rural Development have been hammering on what the private schools must put in place before resumption.
The Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural development has been stressing on every private school having a borehole for their water supplies. The schools are required to register such boreholes with the ministry.
The truth is that, access to regular water supply is a fundamental human right, according to the United Nation, and the Government is responsible for the provision of portable water to its citizens. By asking schools to provide water through the drilling of boreholes Dr. Tamunosisi, Commissioner for Water Resources and Rural Development, is abdicating from his ministry’s responsibility for providing portable water to Citizens of the State, including the private Schools, as promised in the New Rivers Vision of Governor Wike.
More than 95% of both primary and secondary public schools in Rivers State do not have access to regular water supply, no toilet facility, no seats for the children, and the commissioners are feigning ignorance of these facts.
As a matter of fact, the standards of most private Schools in Rivers State are much more than those of the public schools. In fact, Public Schools in Rivers State has no standard. Take a survey of the Public Schools in the Port-Harcourt metropolis and you will wonder if the Government has any policy on Education in the State. You will find more than 70 pupils in a class room and you wonder how a teacher would be able to manage such a crowed. There are no Seats, roofs are leaking, no toilet facilities, holes on floors of classrooms, no teacher, etc.
If the Schools in Port Harcourt are in these state, those in the Rural areas are better imagined. Most Schools in Rural areas are without Teachers due to insecurity prevailing in almost all the Communities. Also, retired Teachers are not being replaced by new employment.
The Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku should tell the world, how many primary and secondary Schools in his Local Government, Ahoada East, are functioning and how many teachers are in each of them, yet he is the Commissioner for Education. Is his job only to distribute Chemicals for WAEC Examinations and be receiving his allowances and overhead?
Since the State Government cannot set the standard for primary and secondary education in the State, the Private Schools should be allowed to set the standard. Currently, they have higher standard than the Public Schools.
A visit to any Zonal Education office in the 23 Local Governments will leave you in no doubt that Primary and Secondary Education in Rivers State is in a state of coma