The Edo State government on Tuesday disclosed it plans to hand over some government-owned public schools to missions and other private bodies that are interested in developing the institution.
Jimoh Ijegbai, the state commissioner for education, made this disclosure during the 60th Founder’s day anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima College (OLOFOBA), Auchi, in the Etsako West local government area of the state.
Mr Ijegbai, who represented the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, at the occasion, said it was part of a grand design to revamp the educational sector in Edo.
The state government in May 2004 began the return of schools to their owners, reversing the arbitrary take-over of schools from proprietors by government across the country in the mid-1970s.
It is not clear the number of mission schools that have already been returned to the owners, but PREMIUM TIMES learnt that several schools have been returned to the Baptist, Catholic,, and Anglican missions in the state.
The commissioner said though the guidelines for the plan were still being worked on, the process will commence upon the second term inauguration of the present administration.
Mr Ijegbai said, “What we are trying to achieve is to see that the government effectively concentrates on the leftover schools that are not doing well after others must have been taken over by interested persons or groups.
“Some public schools will be handed over to anybody or persons who will be capable of effectively managing them.”
Mr Ijegbai, who noted that the Mr Obaseki-led government has done a lot to revamp the sector, stressed that teaching in over 300 primary schools across the state was now technologically driven.
He said no fewer than 11,000 primary school teachers have been trained on the use of this technology to teach.
“Governor Obaseki’s administration is trying to reopen the educational system; he started with the basics because of the need to get it right from the foundation level.
“Having done with this, we will be upgrading next year by introducing the same technology in our secondary schools. We will be starting with JSS1 and then move to JSS2,” he said.
The commissioner, who commended members of the OLOFOBA on their 60th anniversary, challenged them to be part of the effort at developing the institution that contributed to shaping their lives.
In his speech, the president of the association, Pascal Ugbome, expressed the determination of the body to contribute to the development of the school.
Mr Ugbome bemoaned the infrastructural decay in the 60-year institution.
Ugbome said this has in no small means affected the teaching and learning process in schools.
He however said while the old students were trying their best to upgrade some of these facilities, he appealed to the government not to relent in its effort at revamping the school.
“As part of our plan to reposition the school, we have started constructing a perimeter fence across the school and also building lockup shops as part of revenue generation.”
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