The Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development in Kwara has bemoaned a purported claim that 200 ghost schools, which are used to perpetrate financial fraudulence.
Reacting to the rumour Hajia Maryam Garuba, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, tagged the number of schools quoted by the media as “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 detailed to investigate the matter.
“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 disclosed.
The permanent secretary revealed that there were 1,566 primary schools, 434 junior secondary schools, and 346 senior secondary schools in the state.
The official made an appeal to those brandishing report to provide the ministry and the government 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 further said that the affected schools failed to receive nods from the ministry before they were set up.
“Most of them were operating in environments that were not conducive for learning. We will never condone that,” she said.