By Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu

BENIN CITY—THE agitation for the return of public schools taken over by government to missionaries to, NACS, hosted by Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System, NIBSS, in Lagos be returned to their original owners mostly churches reverberated yesterday as the St Maria Goretti Old Girls Association, SMAGOGA, of the St Maria Goretti School, Benin City requested that government return its school to the Catholic Church and such other schools having failed to maintain the standard of the schools since they were taken over.

Speaking at the commissioning of the rebuilt fence, gate and road beautification of the school to herald the 19th national convention of the association, its National President, Dame Victoria Ekhomu said their alma mata has suffered “systemic decay” just like several similar other schools across the country.

She said education for the girl child remains a major means of developing the country as she said educating a girl is as good as educating a family and the nation.

“Unfortunately with the takeover of schools by government from missionaries, without the necessary subventions St Maria Goretti has witnessed systemic decay. We have situations where out of about 5,500 students, only 104 students will seat for WAEC and NECO in the school while the majority take theirWAEC/NEC exams in external centres where they can cheat”

She continued; “Simply put, limiting women’s economic options is a missed opportunity; it wastes resources and it slows progress on poverty reduction. Well-documented evidence shows that educating girls and women also yields significant social health benefits.

“Our nation, Nigeria and especially Edo state have to invest in education that empowers the individual to contribute meaningfully to the society. This is functional education, which is qualitative education. The notorious reputation of having the majority of our girls in Nigeria and especially from Edo state engaging in prostitution in Italy and other foreign countries has to be eradicated, through qualitative education, that empowers the individual from secondary level.”

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