Ministry rejects claims that 200 ghost schools exist in Kwara

The Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development in Kwara has dismissed the claims that 200 ghost schools, whose teachers are drawing salaries from the government’s coffer, exist in the state.

Hajia Maryam Garuba, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, while reacting to the rumour that recently went viral on the social media, declared that the number was “too outrageous”’.

“The news is still in the realm of speculation until proven to be true. That number is outrageous. I also saw it in the social media. It has not been confirmed. It is still an allegation,” Garuba said on Saturday in Ilorin.

The Permanent Secretary said that an 11-member committee, comprising of staff of the State Universal Board (SUBEB), Teaching Service Commission and the ministry, had been mandated to look into the issue.

“We have asked the committee to compile the names of all the schools that we have on our data and match it with names of schools that are being captured for salaries.  If the figure is more, we will know something is wrong,” she explained.

She disclosed that there were 1,566 primary schools, 434 junior secondary schools, and 346 senior secondary schools in the state.

The official urged those who were behind the report to assist the ministry and the government by coming out with the names and locations of the said schools.

“We went round the state in 2016 and 2017 and discovered some ‘classes’ that were under trees; we found the staff, students, their chairs and lockers under a tree, but we did not discover schools that never existed.

“We found schools whose structures were appalling, but they were not ghost schools”, she said.

On the 99 schools that were recently shut down, she explained that it was a measure to curb proliferation of illegal schools in the state.

She explained that the affected schools did not seek approval from the ministry before taking off.

“Most of them were operating in environments that were not conducive for learning. We will never condone that,” she said.

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