The Lagos State Government, through the Office of Education Quality Assurance, has presented provisional approval letters to 199 new private school owners, thereby increasing the number of registered private primary and secondary schools in the state from 5,423 to 5,622.
The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Jamiu Alli-Balogun, who presented the letters to some of the new school owners at the Education Resource Centre, Ojodu, on Thursday, called for adequate measures to ensuring child safety in all approved schools in the state.
While commending the proprietors and proprietresses for taking the bold step of seeking the government’s approval, Alli-Balogun, decried the number of unregistered schools in the state, adding that about 12,000 private schools are operating without statutory approvals.
He noted that 80 per cent of the menace of child abuse cases in Lagos State are from unapproved schools in the state, according to a statement on Friday.
The commissioner was quoted as saying that “the ministry will continue to sanitise the education sector and make it thrive for only government-recognised schools in the state.”
“Ensure adequate safety measures are taken to secure the life of every child in your school and let your teachers and supporting staff imbibe the safety measures as part of school governance culture,” Alli-Balogun urged the school owners.
While calling on unregistered private schools to visit the OEQA as soon as possible and get registered because of the numerous benefits of getting approved, the commissioner stressed, “Take note that the schools are not transferable neither can the approvals be used for another branch of the school in another location without the approval of the Office of Education Quality Assurance.”
In his goodwill message, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Abayomi Abolaji, urged the school owners to be guided by the drive to bring up children that will benefit themselves, their families, and the entire nation in the future.
Abolaji said, “Let not the commercial reason overshadow the basic and most important reason for establishing a school. As a government, we know that we can’t do it alone, we look up to you as our partners to ensure that the standard of education is at par with the excellent status that Lagos is known for.”
Highlighting the benefits and conditions attached to the provisional approval, Director, Private Education and Special Programmes, OEQA, Mrs Fabambi Falayi, noted that they include recognition by the Lagos State Government, Federal Government and International Development Agencies such as the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the United States Agency for International Development, among others, as well as accreditation to present school candidates for external examinations.
“Other benefits include the publication of the school name on the official website of the OEQA; easy access to loans from the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and other finance agencies; discounted prices for the conduct of Integrity tests from the Lagos State Material Testing Laboratory, and access to relief packages and palliatives from the state & federal governments when available, among others,” the director said.