Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Edo State Government on Tuesday said it would arrest and prosecute parents and guardians who violate the Child Rights Law, especially those who deny their children and wards access to education.
The acting Chairman of the state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) and Special Adviser to the Governor on Basic Education, Dr. Joan Osa Oviawe, disclosed this in Benin-city during an inspection tour of schools in the metropolis on the first day of the academic session.
The state in 2007 domesticated the Child Rights Act, and the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, in 2017, inaugurated the Family Court to try cases on violation of the Child Rights Law.
Oviawe said: “The government will continue to promote a knowledge-based economy to drive economic growth and development. This cannot be achieved without solid basic education.”
She frowned at the low turnout of pupils in the schools visited, stressing that the practice where pupils fail to resume on the first week of resumption is not the best.
The governor aide noted that “the state government will soon clampdown on parents or guardians who prevent their wards from attending schools but prefer that they be engaged as house assistants or hawkers.”
She assured the people that the state would continue to provide facilities to give children quality education, adding: “Pupils must be in school to enjoy facilities provided by government. Lack of infrastructure is the least challenge in schools in the state. The main challenge for us is that of truancy in the first week of resumption.”
Oviawe said SUBEB would work with education secretaries to train headmasters/mistresses on effective school management and community engagement.
She warned that the state government would not also tolerate lateness and absenteeism among teachers and headmasters/mistresses, adding that “existing laws and rules will be appropriately applied to sanction those found wanting.”
At Emokpae Primary School, the headmistress, Mrs. Grace Idubor, complained that pupils resume late because they are engaged as salespersons in stores along Mission Road.
After inspecting stores at Mission Road to ascertain the veracity of the claim, Oviawe condemned the act and encouraged parents to allow their wards to attend school, noting that classes have commenced.
Other schools visited were Ivbiotor Primary School, Asologun Primary School, Etete Primary School, Emokpae Primary School, Olua Primary School, Aghahowa Primary School among others.