The Plateau government says the enrolment of children in public primary schools in the state increased by 13 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

Prof. Mathew Sule, the Chairman, Plateau State Universal Basic Education Board (PSUBEB), made this known on Thursday in Jos at the 16th quarterly meeting of the management of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the chairmen of  SUBEBs from the 36 states and the FCT.

According to Sule, the monitoring and supervision of teaching and learning activities by PSUBEB management contributed immensely to the increase in the rate of enrolment.

He added that support from the state government helped encourage parents to enrol their children in school.

The PSUBEB chairman said that the state government’s deliberate efforts at encouraging public school enrolment, had led most parents to transfer their children from private schools to public schools.

“There is an apparent upsurge in the enrolment of children in Plateau schools by 13 per cent.

“Between 2010 and 2011, 489,421 pupils enrolled in public primary schools, and from 2014 to 2015, the number increased to 552,359.

“What surprises me most is that a high percentage of children enrolling in public schools are from the private schools.

“This means that parents and stakeholders have once more started to appreciate the environment of the public schools as conducive for learning.

“Although some experts in the education sector have argued that the massive exodus may be because of the downturn in the nation’s economy,  I wish to say that quality education is highly considered by Nigerians before monetary value,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the meeting was `Strategic Planning: An Essential Tool for Effective Implementation of Basic Education in Nigeria’.

Sule further said that the rate at which children dropped out of schools in the state stood at 1.2 per cent, while the gender ratio in terms of enrolment had drastically reduced from 2 per cent between 2010 and 2011 to 0.5 per cent between 2014 and 2015.

He, however, said that the increasing movement to public schools and the drop in the rate of out of school children had brought to the fore the challenge of lack of classrooms for pupils.

He expressed regret at the overcrowded nature of most public schools, citing UNESCO’s report that the state had a ratio of one teacher to 80 pupils per class, as against its standard of one teacher to 40 students per class.

The board chairman, therefore, called on the state government to facilitate the speedy completion of the ongoing construction and renovation of classrooms across the state to address the classrooms shortage.