The Edo State Government has commenced monitoring of various schools across the state as students resumed academic activities for the 2022/2023 academic session.
The state also monitored streets and other locations, in compliance with the directive of the state governor for the arrest and prosecution of parents and guardians of out-of-school children in the state.
The monitoring team led by the Commissioner for Education, Joan Osa-Oviawe, under the ‘It's School O'clock’ programme, was also targeted at ensuring that teachers across the state resume to class immediately.
Addressing journalists in Benin City, Osa-Oviawe said, “Mr. Governor has said already that any child, starting from today, caught loitering during school hours is going to be arrested.
“As I speak to you, across the 18 local government areas, we have field officers already enforcing this. Anybody we catch now, we're going to take them home and are going to arrest the parents and guardians and they will sign off.
“So, clearly, the government is doing its bit and the teachers are doing theirs. It is now left for parents to do their own part and when parents don't want to do it willingly, we will now have to force them.”
“I use the word force because there is a Child Right Law and since 2018, we have been advocating that teaching and learning begins on the first day of resumption. Parents should let their children come to school,” she added
The commissioner however expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance of schools inspected, adding, “I'm very happy with what I'm seeing in terms of the cleanliness and orderliness in our schools, particularly our secondary schools. Our teachers are in school, our executive principals have taken charge; they're doing a lot of things using their initiatives to make the schools habitable and they are even bringing issues of erosion to our notice in the ministry.
“His Excellency has given a mandate to the ministry that we have to work with the various boards to ensure a total clean-up of all our schools which include removing weeds, demolishing dilapidated buildings and having a proper waste management system in all our schools.”
Hailing the governor for the political will to revamp the state’s education system, Osa-Oviavwe said, “For the first time in history, all our secondary school teachers have been trained, all our executive principals trained; all our TVET teachers were trained along with their principals. In basic education also, the upper basic teachers and principals were also trained and in that process, over 5000 people have been trained within the last 2-3 weeks.”