The Benue State Government says it has closed down 2,219 secondary schools over poor standards. Prof. Dannis Ityavyar, the State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, disclosed this on Tuesday in Makurdi, while fielding questions from members of the House of Assembly, who sought explanations over the dwindling standards of education. Ityavyar also disclosed that 19 tertiary institutions were closed down for the same reason.
He said that the state government was working toward improving the quality of education, declaring that mushroom schools would not be allowed to operate. The commissioner expressed regrets that government had not been able to regulate the fees paid in private primary and secondary schools. “The only powers we have are limited to quality control; the owners of schools insist that we cannot dictate fees to them and there isn’t much that we can do,” he said.
He confirmed that some schools were charging N30,000 to register their students for West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) senior secondary schools examination as against the N13,500 charged by the examination body. “It is a difficult situation because the parents are willing to pay. In the ministry, we are helpless,” he said. Speaking earlier, the Speaker, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange, had lamented the high fees charged in schools across Benue, and urged the ministry to step in to control the trend so as to reduce the effects on parents.