Governor Chibuike Amaechi
From next year, the Rivers State Government would make free education compulsory to all children of school age in the state.
The state governor, Chibuike Amaechi, disclosed this at the weekend during the closing ceremony of the Garden City Literary Festival at the Banquet Hall of the Hotel Presidential in Port Harcourt.
According to him, parents would be required by law to send their children and wards to both the state government new model primary and secondary schools and other government primary and secondary schools that would be renovated and made to meet the required standards.
“We are about to send to the state Assembly a bill that says it is a crime not to send your children to schoo. The reason is when you say education is free and compulsory, parents don’t take it seriously until you say they will go to jail if they don’t send their children and wards to school.
“We would not collect fees so it becomes criminal if you don’t send your children to school. From next year we would criminalise those who don’t take their children or wards to school because we will try everything possible to ensure that we provide infrastructure and facilities that will back our free education,” he promised.
The governor further said his administration would set up an agency for quality assurance to ensure primary and secondary schools in the state would meet expected standards.
“Let me tell you the things that will happen very soon. Those of you who are in government schools that are not up to standard we are trying to raise our government schools to the standard that we require… When we get to that standard, we will in the next few months set up the agency for quality assurance. If you don’t meet the standard, whether you are government school or private school you will be closed down.”
“All primary schools must have Information Communication Technology (ICT) including the ones that belong to the Rivers State Government. We believe that the same thing should apply to the secondary schools.”
Amaechi used the opportunity to present prizes to three top winners of the essay competition for the Garden City Literary Festival.