Written by Scholastica JOSEPH

Benue govt to return 300 schools to mission owners

Benue State Government said plans have reached advanced stage to return mission schools back to their original proprietors, the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar, has disclosed.

The commissioner said this after a closed door meeting with principals of secondary schools.

Ityavyar said, "They are great schools and they brought glory to Benue state. Government has taken these schools and now we want to improve the quality of education and bring those schools back to their glories.

"As a result of this, all parties; school principals and government, have agreed that from August 1, 2020, all the schools that were taken over by government would be handed over to their proprietors.

"These proprietors include mission schools like those established by the Catholic Church, the Nongu Kristu Sha Tar, NKST, Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Evangelical Church of West Africa, ECWA and all other schools. We have spoken to the schools through their principals and from what we heard, they are ready and eager to take their schools back.

He said government spends an average of N600 million on the teachers every month. "Our plan now is to renovate the schools, bring them to a good standard so that people will be running after government schools

"The essence is that Governor Samuel Ortom wants to bring government schools to their past glory having made a name in the primary School sector.”

Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary Teaching Service Board, TSB, Makurdi, Mr Wilfred Uji, has urged restraint in handing over the schools to their original proprietors.

Uji, an Associate Professor of History, recalled that the exercise was tried out about 30 years ago but never worked out.

Uji who expressed fear that the schools might collapse as a result pointed out that "from August 1, watch out, salaries and wages will be different from school to school, many private schools can't even pay the basic minimum wage, there is going to be challenges even in the standard of education within the specific schools in terms of what is being taught there.

 

"I think we need some level of time to work on this again to iron out some important areas. Some of the schools are not ready and when you do the transfer, some of the schools will collapse because most teachers will leave for government schools where the pay is better.”

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