The recently released list of approved schools by the Rivers State Education ministry has thrown the junior education sector into panic following the deregistration of 347 schools for failing to meet government set standards for schools in the state.
By implication, schools marked as ‘denied registration’, will face compulsory closure and coming mid-term, many, including pupils, parents and staff of affected schools will be negatively impacted and this has become a major source of worry.
As the list was made public Monday, parents have been frantically scanning the list to know if their children’s schools are affected and lamenting loudly if affected. High on the list of their worries is the fact that the closure is coming mid-term and a period of harsh economic weather.
Added to this, is the high impact the move will cause on the employment scene as thousands of teachers will be thrown into the streets, further worsening an already overburdened job market while raising money to register children in new schools in a cash-strapped economy and in the Christmas season would be very stressful for parents.
“This is a big blow. Many teachers will lose their jobs. Most of the these deregistered schools engage at least 50 teachers and other staff each and that is a lot if you consider the number of schools affected by this order-347!
That is thousands of families joining the hunger market. Enrolling children in a new school requires money and where will you find the money in this Buhari time to re-register your child? Imagine if you have three and four!” a worried parent told this publication.
She said she has only one child in school but relocating her will not be easy because there is no money in the system.
“I know what it took for me to raise this term’s school fees. Things are hard; now is definitely not the best time for this bombshell. I know the governor is trying to improve the education sector but this would have been better done before the beginning of the academic year. A lot of pupils will stop school till their parents can raise needed funds for them to join their mates in school”, she added.
Meanwhile, affected school owners are in serious lamentation. Not only has their business been halted but they say many will become indebted as they will not be able to recover huge sums owed them by parents.
Confirming this, proprietress of one of the schools said, “About 75 per cent of my students have not paid for this term and with the closure, no parent will want to pay owed debts as they will be focusing on raising money for fresh admissions.
“Things have been tight in the country and because of that, we allowed the children so the parents can pay over time. Some of them have been with us for ages and they have more than one child with us. This closure will amount to a huge loss for us, it really is a big problem, a big loss on all counts”.