Suleiman Anyalewechi, Aba
As the Abia State government has expressed its determination and readiness to recover all public assets that have been converted to private uses in the last few years, a non-governmental organization, Civil Society Action Coalition On Education For All, CSACEFA, has called for the recovery of all public educational institutions either sold, donated and or converted for any purposes in all the parts of the state, especially in Aba.
The Education Advocacy group has also volunteered all necessary collaborative efforts towards repositioning public educational institutions so as to serve their original purposes.
Abia state Chairperson and Southeast coordinator of CSACEFA Mrs Eunice Egbuna, who stated this in an interview with newscritic.com.ng on Thursday October 26, 2023 in Aba regretted that an estimated 500,000 school children have dropped out of school due to the conversion of the public schools to private business outlets, noting that the alternative public schools are not readily accessible to the children of the poor as a result of the prevailing harsh economic situation in the country.
Some of the pubic, but now converted schools listed by the group include All Saints Secondary school Ogbo Hill, Iheoji Secondary school, Osusu Road Secondary school, Azikiwe Road Primary school, Old Court Road Primary school, Ngwa /College Road Primary School and Girls High School Ogbo Hill, all in Aba.
Mrs Egbunna said the same scenario played out in most other parts of the state where public schools were handed over to political cronies under the guise of returning them to their original owners.
She lamented that these public schools which produced most of today’s leaders are now playing host to various private businesses like shopping Malls, Super markets and faith-based organizations.
CSACEFA further noted that the conversion of the public schools to private business outlets has tended to cast aspersions on the importance of education, and at the same time encourages children of school age to place more premium on money than educational pursuit.
“The situation of these public schools portends a big threat to the education of the youths and their future.
In the first place these schools were sited in such a way that they could easily be accessed by the people, especially the less privileged.
With them now ceded to private individuals for business purposes, the alternative schools are not accessible to many, resulting in many children of school age dropping out of school.
This development if not arrested early enough poses a serious threat to our society. Besides, the situation has led to some people no longer knowing where their alma maters are. They can no longer point with pride to their children where they were groomed for the challenges of life.
By converting the public schools to private business outlets, you are directly or indirectly telling our children that education is no longer important; that what matters is the pursuit of money.
More worrisome is that some of the businesses being operated at these hitherto public schools, are such that are potentially dangerous to the good moral upbringing of children,” Mrs Egbuna stated.
CSACSEFA therefore urged Gov Alex Otti to spare no efforts in recovering these public institutions, promising to assist in whatever capacity needed to restore the lost glory of public educational institutions in the state.