Nigeria News

Nigeria News

ANALYSIS: Poor Education For Poor People, Lagos “Mushroom Schools”

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Nigeria News takes a look at the pains of poor parents and children in Lagos State “Mushroom Schools”.

The last time Lagos State Government showed seriousness about clamping down on substandard private schools was during the administration of Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN).

The erstwhile State Deputy Governor, Princess Sarah Adebisi-Sosan was in charge of the Ministry of Education.

She was a former director in the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB. A few time, I had the opportunity to work with Sosan as education reporter of the Punch Newspaper. The SUBEB supervises the activities of the public and private nursery, primary and the Junior Secondary School.

Her unit was responsible for the regulation of private schools in the state, the function she later inherited as the deputy governor.

In her four years as the overseer of the education sector in the State, Sosan went hard on “mushroom” schools, closing many of them to ensure sanity.

It was a fierce battle between the Association of Private School Proprietors and the government then. At long last, many substandard private schools were shut.

In its efforts to bring pupils back to public schools, Fashola’s administration began massive construction of educational institution with better facilities.

Many students who had been in private schools left for public institutions, which now have quality teachers and better teaching aids.

However, the present government has done little in the education sector. The system is deteriorating daily. There is proliferation of substandard schools. Besides operating in unfavourable condition, these substandard schools engage incompetent teachers.

Residential buildings are being converted to educational institutions.

Living rooms in some of the structurally defective buildings on Lagos Island and other parts of the metropolis have been turned to classrooms, mainly for children of the poor.

Space is rented out to unqualified personnel who parade themselves as educationists. Their motive is not about rendering service but money making.

The mushroom schools charge little tuition; they employ incompetent teachers and enroll poor children to take lessons under dilapidated roofs.

Many of these schools are sited in a poor environment beside market place, mosque and churches. They learn in a noisy environment.

The worst is that many of the structures had been marked for demolition but the owners would not vacate the place until the building give way, killing the occupants as it happened a few days ago at Itafaji.

About 18 pupils died in the incident.

Children of the poor people do not only suffer poor education, but they pass through pain and agony to learn. And when the building cave in, it is the pupils that are the first casualties.

The number of “mushroom” schools is more than standard schools in Lagos State. There is an urgent need for the government to take drastic action in revamping the dying education sector.

The incumbent deputy governor of Lagos State, Dr Idiat Oluranti Adebule who oversees the education sector will need to raise her game in regulating the private sector of the education system.

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