Stakeholders in the state’s education sector have been divided on the decision of the State Government to return mission schools to their original owners.
The government late last year made its decision known on the basis that it could no longer provide the expected quality for such schools.
It had for long preached the gospel of collaboration with the private sector in moving the state, including the education sector forward.
The government placed certain conditions, including non discrimination in terms of admission, if such schools were returned.
While the Catholic Church welcomed the development, the Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools ( ASUSS ), kicked against the move.
It said it foresaw a situation when government hands off payment of salaries, the schools will start going cap in hand for funds and this will lead to non payment of teachers salaries.
It equally said the schools would be commercialised, as that would be a major source raise to raise funds to manage the schools and this will deny poor students access to good education.
Another reason for not supporting the return according to the union, is that the schools will face infrastructure challenges.
It said that when government cannot maintain some of these infrastructure, how would these returned schools do so.
It therefore described the development as ill conceived and would pull back the education sector and lose whatever gains had been made.
The union called on missionaries clamouring for the return of the schools to build more schools and manage them well, instead of trying to pull back the hands of time.
It enjoined the State Government to rescind the decision and let the status quo remain.
The Catholic Church on the other hand , commended government for the decision, stating that it was long overdue.
It said education is a collective responsibility and all stakeholders, including churches must be given the opportunity to be part of the system.
The Church said while it might not have the funds for an immediate turn around, it would work with government and the good people of the state, to return the schools to their lost glory.
Prior to the advent and proliferation of private primary and secondary schools in the country, various missionaries including the Church Mission Society (CMS), Catholic Mission in Nigeria, Methodist Church, the Baptist Mission, among others, were in the forefront of establishment of schools.
This was in the bid to provide high quality education, with discipline and instilling the fear of God in the children.
The missionaries established primary and secondary school primarily to ensure pursue their evangelism.
The early missionaries, came along with education for which the first set of elites in the country was educated.
But with the take over of mission schools by government during the military era, on the grounds that government should run the education sector, the quality fell, indiscipline took over and results of public schools fell drastically.