FAVOUR SHUAIB, Abuja
Owners of private schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have been directed to make security and safety of school children of school children under them a priority.
FCTA Secretary for Education Secretariat, Sen. Isah Maina, gave this warning on behalf of the Administration during a meeting with owners of private schools under the aegis of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPSS) in his office last week.
The meeting which was convened following a recent private school bus fire incidence, which claimed the lives of three pupils on it was also intended to find ways of improving the delivery of education services in the FCT, especially ensuring the safety of school children in schools.
Maina who noted that as parents “we know what is good for our children”, charged them to prioritize security of the children, regretting “as businessmen, we like to cut corners in order to maximize our profit and we look at those areas we feel are not so important.
Further warning the proprietors, the Secretary said: “If you do not have enough resources to meet up with all the guidelines for establishing private schools, leave it. We will review the guidelines for private schools and ensure the loop holes are plucked and the right things done at all times in all situations.
“Let us emphasize the issue of safety and security of children in our schools. Let us collaborate to provide excellent education to our children because if we do not do that, they will turn out a burden to us in the future.”
Maina, while directing that only the Department of Quality Assurance was permitted to visit the private schools for monitoring and compliance, pledged to liaise with FCT Internal Revenue Services to streamline payment of taxes for the schools.
He, therefore, placed ban on registration of new private schools in the FCT until the new guideline, which will incorporate the new directives and changes comes on board in order to address the many complaints, and stated that the erring school, which remained closed, must be punished.
President, NAPPSS, FCT Chapter, Samira Jibir, who spoke earlier, hailed the FCTA for giving them a listening, adding that her association was determined to ensure excellence in education in the FCT.
Jibir, however, revealed that the private schools perpetrating unprofessionalism, including the latest school whose school bus led to killing of three children, were not members of NAPPSS.
Calling on the FCTA to make membership of NAPPSS a compulsory requirement for registration of private schools in the FCT, the President opined that that was the only way to have sanity in the administration of private school in the nation’s capital. A suggestion the Education Secretary accepted and directed should be included in the new guidelines.
She listed other challenges of NAPPSS to her include multiple taxation, lack of titles for their school lands and called on the Administration to harmonize all taxes, make the department of Quality Assurance formidable and adequately staffed for effective monitoring and inspection of private schools.
It could be recalled that a private school bus recently caught fire in the FCT and no fewer than three school children were killed.
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