Ekiti - Ekiti State Government on Monday directed the closure of 131 private schools which, it said, were substandard.
The order, which was given by the state Ministry of Education, affected both primary and secondary schools.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the directive followed the expiration of the six-month ultimatum given to their proprietors to regularise their operations and upgrade their facilities.
The Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Eniola Ajayi, who made this known while addressing newsmen in Ado Ekiti, said that owners of the affected schools had been warned severally to properly register them.
She said the schools were given six months deadline to meet the standard set by the state government for the running of private schools.
Ajayi, however, said that the proprietors of the affected schools remained indifferent to the directive.
She reiterated the commitment of the government to the provision of a conducive learning environment that would enhance the performance of students.
The commissioner said that government would not compromise the future of the children in the state under any circumstance.
Ajayi advised proprietors who did not have the wherewithal to run a standard school to bow out of the venture gracefully, stressing that government would no longer allow sub-standard schools to function in the state.
She said that the minimum acceptable standard for schools in the state was the ability of the school to function from its permanent site after three years of operation.
The commissioner added that the permanent site must at inception consist of a minimum of three standard and well ventilated classrooms as well as an administrative block consisting of a minimum of two rooms and a store.
She said the site must also occupy a piece of land of between two and three hectares of land for future expansion.
“Other facilities expected in a standard school included a functional library equipped with up- to -date books as well as qualified teachers,” she said.
In his reaction, Mr. Babatunde Abegunde, the chairman of the state chapter of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, pleaded with the government to rescind its decision on the matter for now.
He said as a result of the downturn in the nation’s economy, the proprietors of the affected schools should be given another three months grace to enable them meet the prescribed standard.