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Stakeholders Kick As Schools Remain Shut In Bayelsa

Stakeholders Kick As Schools Remain Shut In Bayelsa

Private school owners and stakeholders in Bayelsa state have expressed dissatisfaction over the continued closure of schools in the state as a result of the 2018 flood.

The Bayelsa state government had on September 29th ordered the closure of all primary and secondary schools pending when the devastating flood would recede.

During a media chat in Government House a fortnight ago, the state governor, Seriake Dickson said the schools would not be re-opened in a hurry.

He maintained that there was the need to protect children who were vulnerable to water-borne diseases as well as snakes and other reptiles that might have invaded some school premises.

He, however, assured that the schools would not be closed for too long going by assessment report of the committee led by the Commissioner for Education, Mr. Jonathan Obuebite.

"We ordered a forced closure of all schools about a month a ago to ensure the safety of our children.

"Now that the flood has started receding, we will do everything possible to make our schools conducive before we announce the resumption of schools.

"Let me assure you that will not be too long from now. The state ministry of information is monitoring the water level and making daily report to me.

We are not in a hurry to push children who are vulnerable to harm's way", he said.

Meanwhile, operators of privately owned schools in the state are not happy over the prolonged closure of schools.

They believe that they would be on the receiving end if the schools remained closed for a longer period.

A teaching staff of Mount Olivet International Schools (name withheld) said because schools are not in session, parents would refuse to pay school fees which would in turn affect payment of staff salaries.

"Public schools may not bother about the closure of schools because government pays the staff whether schools are in session or not.

"When it comes to the private sector, it is a different ball game entirely. Parents don't pay when their children are at home.

"So, if parents don't pay because schools are closed, how can the staff survive? This is our plight and we are appealing to the state government to consider our situation and reopen the schools, he lamented.

Also, the head teacher of Biedomo Premier Schools, Mrs. Oluwatoyin said it was not good for schools to be closed for too long, be it private or public.

"Normally, nobody will be happy whenever schools are closed for too long. It has so many disadvantages for both private and public schools", she stated.

She, however, said they were patiently waiting for the official reopening of the schools by the state government.

The governor has directed that all schools covered by the flood should be well fumigated and made habitable before reopening day would be announced.

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