Focus on private schools in nigeria – Part 2
Education Stakeholders’ Stock Taking
Different strokes for different folks. At the beginning of each term, master Dibble Joshua looks forward to joining his peers in school with excitement and confidence that his parents would have taken care of school fees as well as other pecuniary demands. On the other hand, some of his mates who are not so lucky often stay back at home for several days, weeks or even months after resumption running errands for neighbours and their parents. In most cases this has to do with excessive financial burdens from the school authorities. This is the stack reality in the private education sector in the country.
The operators of these schools are in the business to make profit and that is why the schools are in different categories to cater for each strata of the society. The schools having planned their budgets expect the parents who enrol their children and wards to promptly fulfil their financial obligations, so as to operate at the standard they originally set out to operate. Hence, the need to aggressively pursue the payment of the school fees from defaulting parents.
In Nigeria today, good school abound all the nooks and crannies of the land. However, the issues of parents not doing proper self-assessment in terms of enrolment of their children and wards in places their finances can accommodate. Rather, they get carried away with the imposing and beautiful structures forgetting that good things do not come cheap.
At the moment, the nation is blessed with human and natural resources which when well harnessed will translate to the building of a glorious nation. The government needs to see the role of private schools as complementary. They should ensure that the private schools have access to cheap fun for their operations, so as to make their activities affordable.
The parents on the other hand, should be more pragmatic in their thoughts and considerations while making a choice in their educational career. For instance, In Lagos state as at today, government owned schools favourably compete with some of the best private schools around. So, in making a choice of school for a child or ward, sending one’s child to a government school may not be a bad idea after all
In addition to this, the craze for paper qualification has not done the nation any good. It only helps produce unemployable graduates. Stakeholders attributed the decay in the system to inconsistency in government policies and the desperate craze for certificate acquisition which usually relegate the desire for knowledge to the background. For instance, most parents prefer seeing their children jump primary six to JSS1, forgetting the role of maturity.
According to Dr Jimi Kayode, a lecturer in Lagos State University,( LASU), most the students in the school are more or less kindergarten pupils due to their age. Unlike before when students are expected to be eighteen years of age before gaining admission to a higher institution, these days it is common to see children of ages 15 or 16 being on campus.
Is this a sign of improvement or that of retardation? A stakeholder, Mr Oduh Akoche is of the view that things are getting better compared to what the experiences of the past used to be. For instance, he cited a case of a child in an elementary school that can now pronounce English words properly compared to what is obtainable before.
However, others often point accusing fingers at government’s gross underfunding of education. To this group of stakeholders, the pitiable state of both primary and secondary schools in some states in the country does not surprise anyone as most schools have either leaking roofs, cracked walls, dilapidated halls, inadequate furniture and equipment including libraries and laboratories.This terrible picture is further worsened by the non-regular payment of teachers’ salary which frequently resulted in industrial actions.
According to an observer, if politics of a country is robust it will definitely amount to sound government policies. Therefore, quality education system should be designed to capture every child in the country. The government should set up minimum international standards for private schools.
Commenting on the choice of foreign-based curriculum operating in the country, Timothy Itodo, a secondary school principal, is of the opinion that what should be an ideal thing to do is to indulge in Nigerian curriculum from primary school level to the university stage .Thereafter, he counselled that whoever desires to further his or her education can now do so in any other chosen foreign-based curricular. To Itodo, this will forestall raising people with Nigerian blood.
To private school owners under the aegis of Association for Formidable Educational Education Development (AFED) the journey to attain greatness goes beyond the above paradigm. According to AFED, proprietor of schools should endeavour to pay attention to teachers in their various colleges as teachers need training and retraining in their various subjects.
Equally, education should be regarded as a core professional field in order to attract the best hand. Towing this line of thought is a top official of education ministry who canvassed for the abolition of quack and sub standard schools from the country .Equally commenting on the reason for government clampdown on illegal schools nationwide pastor Jonah Ameh is of the view that the government need to put some measures in place in order to curb the excesses on the part of those who open mushroom schools that dot the states .He acknowledge the fact that government alone cannot provide education to everyone; hence, the need for partnership in order to ensure that education remains the bedrock of the society.
Indeed, the resolution of many key private school operators in Nigeria is to solicit for cooperation of government at all levels towards the promotion of education in their various ways. Besides, teachers should endeavour to be professional by imbibing the spirit of principles and practice of education; applying appropriate reward and punishment where necessary
CHRIST THE KING CATHOLIC COLLEGE, ODOLEWU-IJEBU
Christ the King Catholic College, (CKCC) Odolewu-Ijebu is a government-approved Catholic Private Secondary School established by the CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF IJEBU-ODE on September 08, 1995 under the leadership of Most Rev. Albert A. Fasina, Bishop of Ijebu-Ode Diocese, as Proprietor. The College is for boys only and a fully boarding school. The College provides sound, effective, purposeful and functional education for the self-actualization of the boy child. The College offers holistic formation of the male child in line with Christian values.
CKCC, represented Nigeria in Holland, UK for World Mathematics Olympiads and won Bronze Medal in 2011. It continued its run of excellence by representing Nigeria in Argentina 2012 World Olympiads after winning Gold Medals in American Mathematics Competition (AMC) and Olympiads in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. The performance at this competition by the College contingent ranked Nigeria among the first three intellectual nations of the world.
The College also produced the best male candidate in Nigeria at 2012 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and has continued to record 100 percent success rate in almost all subjects in WASSCE May/June till date and the success story continues.