…..To Shut Illegal Schools
By Stephen Adeleye
The Kogi Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wemi Jones, FCIB, says it has become an offence in the State for a child of school age not to be in school or hawking during school hour.
Jones stated this on Thursday in Lokoja, at a Stakeholders’ Sensitisation Meeting on the newly enacted Kogi State Education Law.
According to the Commissioner, it has become an offence in the State for a child of school age not to be in school or hawking during school hour as stipulated in Section 9 of the Kogi education law.
”If any child is seeing hawking or doing anything during school hour, that child shall be apprehended by the Special Marshals that will be put in place till the parent or guardian of such child come forward to give cogent reason the child is not in school, and we are very serious about this”, he said.
The Commissioner also added that the issue of proliferation of private schools had become a source of concern and worry to the state government, saying Section 20 provides and stipulates the conditions for such establishment.
He, however said that those schools that were already established and did not meet the stipulated conditions would be given ample time to come to the Ministry and do the needful.
He added that henceforth every private school that want to operate in Kogi State, must get themselves register with National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS).
The Commissioner also added that all illegal schools operating in Kogi would be shut down as stipulated by the enact education law
”We are going to be closing all illegal schools in the state as we have been empowered by Section 20, subsection 3, of the education law.
He further added that the advent of law would ensure that all schools in Kogi including Missions schools either private or public, have uniformity in Academic Calendar from the ministry that must be strictly complied with in the state.
He also noted that MOCK examination being a preparatory for WAEC, and therefore said that every school operating in Kogi must come under the ministry for MOCK examination as from 2022.
”Beginning from 2022, all MOCK examinations in Kogi must come under the ministry of education, science and technology”, he said.
He further warned that the issues of examination malpractice and the so called ‘miracle centres’, would come to an end in Kogi, saying the education law has empowered the ministry to punish perpetrators.
He disclosed that about 68 secondary schools were derecgnised and 168 severely warned by WAEC in 2020, in Kogi State as a result of examination malpractice.
”It has become a crime for you to harvest other students and put them in your school for examinstion all in the name of miracle centres.
”We will checkmate the incident of miracle centres which had led to a great embarrassment to the state. We can no longer allow ourselves to be embarrassed”, Jones said.
The commissioner further added that disciplines of erring teachers would also be enforced as stipulated in the state education law.
He, therefore advised all the proprietors, principals, head teachers of schools and other relevant stakeholders to study the enacted Kogi education law, and align with it.
Jones thanked God Almighty for making the education law a reality, which has put Kogi education on the pedestal of acceptable global standard.
He commended the governor for his dedication to education who had said it severally that ”posterity will not forgive us if we failed to revamp education in Kogi.
He, therefore promised that the Kogi Education would become a sector that other States would come to learn from.
The State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Ibrahim Mohammed SAN, who did the presentation of Kogi Education law, thanked the governor for his passion for education.
He commended the commissioner for the giant strides the state had recorded in education sector, saying the education law was a commendable effort.
Represented by Barr. Adeniyi Moraiyewa, Director Legal Practice, Ministry of Justice, Mohammed noted that several efforts had been made in the past to bring about the education law but was never materialised.
According to him, the purpose of the education law is to enact law that guides the activities of Pre-Primary, Primary, and Post Primary Schools in the state.
He, therefore urged the relevant stakeholders to thoroughly study the law and ensure total compliance.
In his vote of thanks, Dr Gabriel Ottah, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, described the education law as ”a core practical education development in the state”.
Ottah extolled the commissioner for the great achievement saying he had succeeded in written his name in gold in the anals of education in the state.
He urged the education stakeholders to be guided and abide by the law, saying, ”once it is law, we must abide all abide by it until it is reviewed and amended”.
He warned the Principals and Head Teachers of schools not to harbour illegal study centres in the state, saying there schools were not home for study centres.
He also warned the principals not to give admission to any new students into SSS3 and JSS3 in the state henceforth, saying it has become a crime as stipulated by the law.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Pastor Emmanuel Idenyi, said Kogi State was created in 1991, but without Education law.
Idenyi Commended the governor and the Commissioner for their passion for education in the state and ensuring the realisation of the education law.
”The project for the education law project is a favoured project because of the speedy passage of the bill by Kogi Assembly and for promptly assented to by the Governor”.
In their goodwill messages, the Chairmen of SUBEB, Mr Suleiman Ndalaye; and Chairperson of STETSCOM, Mrs Cecilia Cook, commended the commissioner for being a workaholic personality with passion to change the narrative in the state’s education sector.
Cook noted that the Education law will ensure uniformity in the conduct of MOCK Exams and all activities of education sector in the state would be guided by the law.
The state’s Chairman of NAPPS, Mr Yaqeen Habib, said that the private schools in the state were certainly delighted with the Commissioner for ensuring the reality of the state education law.
He, however stressed the need to have a law that capture education in its entirety, saying, ”I hope this law captures all worries expressed by NAPPS during the public hearing”.
Other stakeholders at the sensitisation meeting were: CSOs, NGOs ANCOPPS, among others.