News / Africa

Nigerian State Cracks Down on Unregulated Private Schools

An examination hall at one of several colleges closed in Kano for lacking sufficient resources. (VOA/ I.Ahmed)
An examination hall at one of several colleges closed in Kano for lacking sufficient resources. (VOA/ I.Ahmed)
Isiyaku Ahmed

In the northern Nigerian town of Kano, over 80 private nurseries, primary and secondary schools have been shut down and another 52 have been suspended for violating Kano State’s education law.
Meanwhile, a special task force on private schools there aims to close down another 700 institutions that are not meeting legal requirements.

Kano State’s 10-year-old Education Law says all schools must meet certain requirements. They must offer a conducive learning and teaching environment, pay appropriate taxes to government, provide a well-stocked laboratory, maintain functional administrative and academic records, and have a provisional certificate of approval to operate.
Baba Abubakar Umar, the Chairman of the Kano State Task Force on Private Schools, said, "the situation is quite pathetic; so many schools are operating without government consent, by extension without any kind of formal approval from the ministry of education. That is why the government intervened by establishing the task force to sanitize the entire private education sector."

The library at Prime College in Kano, Nigeria. (VOA/I. Ahmed)The library at Prime College in Kano, Nigeria. (VOA/I. Ahmed)
The library at Prime College in Kano, Nigeria. (VOA/I. Ahmed)
The library at Prime College in Kano, Nigeria. (VOA/I. Ahmed)
He said part of the mandate of his office is to enforce a national curriculum for education, ensure the operation of laboratories with qualified teachers, and determine the location of the schools.
Some private schools are located near sites that negatively affect pupil behavior – like under high tension cables, or near market places.
There are over 4,000 nurseries, primary and secondary schools in Kano.  He said that less than a thousand of them are registered – as required -- with the education ministry.
"So many schools have opened without government approval," said Umar. "We have actually embarked on serious scrutiny with a view to detect schools that are [what we call] “mushrooms” – [schools that are] not viable, not standard -- and flush them out to ensure and bring sanity and improve the standard of education in Kano state."
He said proprietors or schools that do not comply with government regulations governing the establishment and operation of private schools will be closed.
"Technically we have closed almost 80 schools," said Umar. "We categorized these schools into class [from “excellent” to very poor] or, A, B, C, D, and E.   For those that have standard facilities, we encourage them to continue, and for those who have less standard facilities, we also encourage them to improve their facilities.  But for schools that are mushrooms, that are operating in garages, and makeshift places or obviously we will flush them out."
He said government want to ensure that pupils are well taught, teachers are well paid and facilities are excellent for learning and teaching.
Hajia Tabawa Abdusalam, the owner of Badar Primary and Secondary School, and the chairperson of the National Association of Proprietors’ of Private Schools in Kano, said, "We are running private schools in Kano state, but some of us are not following the guidelines and the rules for operating a private school," she says. These standards have to do with the teaching and learning environment, qualification of the teachers, and the proprietor must have the quality to administer a private school."

A computer lab at PrIme College in Kano, Nigeria. (VOA / I. Ahmed)A computer lab at PrIme College in Kano, Nigeria. (VOA / I. Ahmed)
A computer lab at PrIme College in Kano, Nigeria. (VOA / I. Ahmed)
A computer lab at PrIme College in Kano, Nigeria. (VOA / I. Ahmed)
She said her association supports the government’s effort to improve the educational system.
Abdusalam said some schools that were closed by the task force have resumed operation. Their owners had to meet deadlines for improvements, like installing toilets, and providing clean drinking water, classroom furniture, and equipment for a well-equipped laboratory.
Wakili Shehu Abubakar,  the secretary of the Kano State Chapter of the National Parent Teachers Association, said, "Recently, the task force closed two or three schools on condition of increasing school fees without contacting the parent-teachers association of the private schools."

He said the guidelines for increasing fees recommend convening a PTA general meeting with representatives of the private institutions department and ministry of education. Two thirds of those in attendance must approve the proposal before it’s adopted and implemented.

Improving education is part of the agenda of Kano State Governor Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso. (VOA/ I. Ahmed)Improving education is part of the agenda of Kano State Governor Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso. (VOA/ I. Ahmed)
Improving education is part of the agenda of Kano State Governor Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso. (VOA/ I. Ahmed)
Improving education is part of the agenda of Kano State Governor Rabi'u Musa Kwankwaso. (VOA/ I. Ahmed)
Abubakar said before the creation of the task force, owners increased fees almost every term, making it difficult for parents to send their children to private school.
Education experts say the new efforts to monitor and regulate private schools should help to ensure that all children have access to education, develop as individuals, and improve their social and economic well-being.  It should also help reduce poverty levels and enhance development.
Over 60% of individuals in Kano state live below poverty line.  As a result, most people have limited access to quality education.
The government provides basic, primary, secondary and tertiary education, though others, including private investors, are encouraged to get involved.  However, the same rules meant to ensure quality apply to every group involved in running the schools in Kano State.

Listen to report on educational reform in Kano, Nigeria
Listen to report on educational reform in Kano, Nigeriai
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs