…1m pupils in 18,000 low cost private schools
By Seun Oladunjoye
There are numbers of low cost private primary schools in Lagos State that have really championed the cause of School Transformation System in the education sector, Nigerian NewsDirect gathered.
An Educationalist and Director, STEM Mets Resources, Lagos, Mrs. Jadesola Adedeji made this known to newsmen recently in an interactive session.
Jadesola reiterated the fact that low cost private schools have actually taken the place of lots of areas in Lagos State where the public schools are not looking into.
According to her, “the low cost private schools are really such, where a school will be obtaining between N50/day to N20,000 per term from students.
“Though, many people think about private schools as being very expensive on the high side, but the shocker is that, there are still about 1million pupils registered across the 18 thousands officially registered low cost private schools in Lagos.”
She was of the view that standard and quality education are not contestable with these considerable numbers of low cost private schools, unlike with the unregistered, mushrooms private schools, which is what people think when they heard the name “low cost private schools.”
Justifying further her stand, she affirmed that the United Kingdom (UK) has even invested in supporting them (low cost private schools), as they are not really giving them money, but support in terms of capacity building – learning outcome, curriculum, among others.
“Also, an international branch , Bridge International Academies, Kenya running in Lagos and Edo State is really focusing on low income underserved areas and their learning outcome is highly incomparable to some of the high rated schools.”
Lending her voice to the state of public primary schools in Nigeria and ways to reignite its glory, the renowned educationist noted that it depends on the government policies, the lack of investment, education infrastructure, planning, among others.
She added that it is not really just the physicality of the public school itself, but the curriculum needs to be overhauled.
“For real, the curriculum is not fit for primary school system and because it is the public school, no educationist can just do something about it without the government giving consent, because everything runs with the government.
“If you have good intentions and you want to run programmes, you have to go through the right channel within the Ministry of Education, with a view to really getting anything done.”
She didn’t shy away from the fact that there are no sufficient teachers in the proper public schools across the country.
With this, the vibrant educationist bodly admitted that both factors of interest and wages might have contributed to not having teachers in the public primary school.
“People still look down on those taking the profession of teaching, making intending teachers lose interest; and the wages are really nothing to write home about.
“Honestly, teachers are suffering, as you will be wondering how much a Head Teacher is getting as salary in some of these public schools across the country.”
“The education sector is being underfunded, in the sense that the percentage of budget that goes into the sector is poor, but government should choose more of human capacity development on the teachers’ perceptive and the quality of our curriculum.
“Yes, there is also need for the school to have great and conducive learning environment, so focus should as well be on building facility and physical structures.”
Jadesola reiterated further that there is need to change people’s mindset from just going into education, to something that economic development is dependent on, in terms of innovation, creativity and skills.
“What is the content of what they are being taught, how are the skills being developed, to seek and find meaningful work in the future.”
In another development, she eulogised the government for their previous deliberate attempt to reform the public primary school systems, but majorly cited the issue of continuity as the lingering challenge.
“Each time there is different government in power, everyone is always trying a new initiative for people to see what her government has done. So, consistency will really go a long way if we have a plan that regardless of which government comes into power, they will follow and work on the blueprint already on ground.”