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Enrollment surge in public schools unsettles parents

Saheed Ibrahim & Boluwatife Akinola

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Public schools in Ondo State are experiencing surge in students enrollment, putting huge pressure on infrastructure in the schools, investigations by The Hope have shown.

The development, it was learnt has led to overcrowded classrooms in several secondary schools in the state.

The Hope findings showed that the development is occasioned by parents shift in preference of school from private to public institutions, driven by affordability and the assurance of quality teaching in the public schools .

Notably, institutions like CAC Grammar School, Fiwasaye Girls’ Grammar School, Ejioba Grammar School, Oba-Ile, St. Louis Grammar School, Ijapo High School, Commercial Grammar School, all in Akure, just to mention, boast of students population exceeding 3,000 each.

As the state witnesses this influx, stakeholders are raising concerns and appealing to government to take decisive actions, including the recruitment of more teachers, expansion of facilities, and a renewed focus on education budget allocations to properly accommodate the growing populations.

 The State Chairman of Parents-Teachers’ Association, (PTA), Alhaji Abimbola Omoloja, lauded the government’s efforts on school development.

While appealing for more to be done to encourage parents to bring their children to public schools, Omoloja called for the recruitment of more teachers in public schools, especially in rural communities and the riverine areas, to address the overcrowded situation in the state’s public schools.

 We wish to note that “Infrastructures in all public schools have been renovated or newly constructed.

“They supply books; Mathematics books; science books. And even this year alone, the government has increased budgetary allocation to education in Ondo State. They should do more, but that is not withstanding; so far, they have tried their best.

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“I appeal very strongly to the government of Ondo State that they should recruit as many as possible because we have a lot of vacancies. So many teachers are retiring day in and day out they have not been replaced”, he said.

Also, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, Comrade Victor Amoko also commended the State government’s effort in giving schools in the state the needed facilities.

He also called for recruitment of more teachers to handle the teeming number of students in the schools to meet global standard.

“The government should try to do that since we have structures and averagely in Ondo state, I believe we have the type of schools we needed. What we are lacking now is personnel, that is, teachers. We need more teachers. Let them employ more”, Amoko added.

Speaking on abscondment of some teachers from schools in the rural areas, the NUT chairman said the teachers’ body has no power to force members but to only admonish.

He added that failure to prioritize education would spell doom for the society.

Amoko attributed the increasing rate of out-of-school children, ‘Yahoo Yahoo’ syndrome and other social ills among young people to failure in the education sector.

 Speaking with The Hope, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education Science and Technology, Mrs. Folashade Adegoke, mentioned that the government is actively working to support public schools with a significant education budget, mainly focusing on improving infrastructure.

She attributed the increasing number of students in public schools to the quality of teaching, good students performance, good facilities and affordable quality education.

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 “The government is trying. The education budget is large, and the government has been helping to provide this infrastructure. In our budget that was signed in December by the governor of the state, we are prepared to roll out the renovation of schools.

“We have done all the groundwork that we need to do, and by the grace of God, in two weeks, the job will be rolled out to contractors, and they will start in earnest,” she added.

 She appealed to teachers in the state to be efficient to support the efforts of government to provide quality and affordable education in the state.

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