Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has avowed that schools shut by the state government in the wake of violent protests that greeted the stoppage of automatic promotion in the state would not be reopened until parents of those children involved in setting ablaze school structures rebuilt those structures.
Speaking at the Thursday’s townhall meeting and unveiling of the new education policy of the state, Ajimobi described such acts of thuggery in schools was untoward and unacceptable.
He noted that the new education policy, epitomised by the setting up of School Governing Boards to run schools, had become imperative in view of the poor performance of students of the state in public examinations.
While reiterating the abolition of automatic promotion of students in schools, Ajimobi added that 80 per cent attendance to classes had also become a pre-requisite for promotion.
“The statistics of our performance in public examinations since 1999 has been discouraging. It was therefore imperative that we arrest this situation and change our way of running schools, hence the need for new education policy.
“We therefore insisted on not promoting any student who failed to meet the pass criteria, yet you have some students who decided to raze their schools in protest to the no automatic policy.
“That is untoward and we won’t accept such act. The parents of those children who razed the schools will be responsible for the re-building of those schools. If they fail to rebuild those structures, we will not order the reopening of those schools that we shut. We won’t tolerate thuggery in our schools.
“In fact, 80 per cent attendance to classes by students is also a pre-requisite for promotion. Government alone cannot be responsible for the running of schools, so there must be participation of others in the management of schools. The school governing board means the community other stakeholders will be involved in monitoring for efficiency and maintenance of high standards in schools.
“The government will continue to employ teachers and our teachers must be re-trained to be more effective. However, the School Governing Board will monitor those teachers,” he said.
The event was attended by government officials, members of the state executive council, traditional rulers, Nigeria Union of Teachers, old boys’ associations, All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS), students’ associations among others.