Benue Gov’t To Clampdown On Private School Owners Operating In 3 Bedroom Apartments, Makeshift Batcher’s- BEQA D/G

From Lateef Taiwo

Benue State Education Quality Assurance Agency, BEQA, has disclosed that it would soon commence the process of clamping down on sub- standard or illegal schools, especially those whose environment is not conducive for learning, as well as those operating without government legitimate approvals.

Director General of the agency, Dr. Terna Francis who made the disclosure Thursday, while exchanging views with Journalists in Makurdi, said recent tour of schools in the state by the agency has exposed shocking revelations including some schools being operated in 3 bedroom apartments of private homes while others constructed as batchers or poultry farms like IDPs makeshift camps were given due accreditation to operate as legal schools during the immediate past administration, a development he described as unacceptable given the priority the Alia administration has placed in uplifting standard of education in the state.

Dr. Francis who revealed that during the tour the ghost teachers syndrome was equally uncovered, pointed out that, under this arrangement some teachers who are on the payroll of Benue State government collecting steady salary live in Abuja and other towns carrying out other businesses, describing the attitude as not encouraging going by the way the present administration is handling issues of teachers, trying to make education attractive to both students and teachers.

The D/G,BEQA said it was also discovered that some principals knowing that government has paid NECO, WAEC and NBTE examination registration for JSS-3 students, studying in public schools in the state, have resulted to collecting bribe from parents to replace legitimate internal students with external candidates, insisting that the agency is determined to flush out such anomalies in the system to make those frustrating reforms of the governor to face punishment in order to reduce unnecessary burden on parents.

Dr., Francis denied allegations that his organization whose duty is to monitor and supervise basic and post basic schools have taken over activities of the ministry of education, disclosing that the governor’s intention of establishing the agency is to remove unnecessary bureaucracy in the system for smooth operation, pointing out that within 11 months of his administration, the agency has registered over 10 private schools in two weeks, against the 3 or more years that was spent on the same process during the immediate past administration.

He also disclosed that BEQA has unveiled a sample of newly designed certificates of BECE to stakeholders in the education sector with the aim of issuing to candidates who sat for the examination since 2017 without certificates, and expressed appreciation to Governor Hyacinth Alia, for making the system to work within a short period, as well as make public schools attractive for learning.

Dr., Francis expressed optimism that before the expiry of Governor Alia’s tenure, teachers would experienced a new dawn in their standard of living, disclosing that the present administration intend to establish a loan scheme for teachers to borrow money on low interest rates to build houses, send their children abroad for studies like other Nigerians as well as have access to other good things of life.

He encouraged teachers to put in their best, shun all corrupt practices to make the system work, adding that the governor as a Catholic Priest is still very conscious of his covenant with the people during campaign and is equally aware of what he wants to do in the educational sector to turn it around for the benefit of the poor masses.