- Call for creation of Education Bank
THE Proprietors of private schools in Nigeria on Tuesday disclosed that most schools across the country have been constrained to reduce the number of their staff as a result of the current economic recession the nation is faced with.
The proprietors under the auspices of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), said a large percentage of parents have been unable to pay the fees of their children in private schools.
President of NAPPS, Dr Sally Adukwu-Bolujoko, spoke in Abuja while briefing newsmen as part of activities marking its 10th Education Conference, scheduled for today (Wednesday) to review the performance of private schools in Nigeria and the efforts to enthrone international best practices in the country.
Adukwu-Bolujoko, however, advised all the estimated over one million members of NAPPS nationwide not to increase school fees because of the recession.
Justifying the sack of some teachers by the proprietors, she said the cost of running the schools were enormous, including the burden of multiple taxation by the government.
She stressed that there would be job losses because globally recession comes with job losses.
She also called on the Federal Government to establish education bank like the Bank of Industry and Bank of Agriculture to support private school owners.
She said, “Many of my good parents don’t have money to pay school fees, I have plenty letters begging me, please let my child stay. One called me this (Tuesday) morning from Dubai, saying look, thank God they put me in this trip to Dubai. Whatever they pay me now is what am I am leaning on to pay my children’s school fees.
“We insist that we should not reduce quality, we are not increasing school fees. We are bent to manage our costs. In NAPPS, we have asked every school to look inwards and manage our costs. My advice is stay afloat, don’t increase school fee, manage your costs.
“In every recession in the world, there are sack and job losses. We are not going to declare any school bankrupt, but we have to manage our costs. Where there are too many hands in some departments and units, some people will have to go, meaning sack.
“We had our NAPPS Day last month and I tried to think of what we can do in times of recession to stay afloat. I discovered that to give quality education as we do in this country is not easy.
“We bear a lot of costs in the area of salaries of our staff; the staff always want more money because the economy is in recession and what they have in hand will not take them home and they have to pay for their needs.
“In terms of buying equipment some of our laboratory equipment you can’t find in Nigeria, it has to come from China, Dubai and so on. In terms of consumables, which we need every time, quality education involves some big expenditures and that possibly is why the public sector could not match it and has not been able to match it.”
Adukwu-Bolujoko, speaking further said most private schools in Nigeria go to access bank loans with higher interest rates that range from 25 to 30 per cent.
She also called on the Federal Government to consider reduction of taxes payable by schools across the country in addition to funding support.
“Education bank should be afloat, I am calling on the Federal Government that as we have Bank of Agriculture, Bank of Industry, Education Bank should even take precedence over these ones because without education there would be no nation. There would be no civilisation on earth and there would be no human being staying together without education. We will all be scavenging and eating ourselves up, it is education that grooms a man and a nation, education also grooms civilisation.
“Let me tell you, without education, you won’t have a president who is learned to know what is happening in America and other sectors. So if we want to transform this country it is education that will build it,” the NAPPS President stated.
She stressed that foreigners no longer want to come and study in Nigeria “because the quality of our workmen is reducing; and the quality of our universities is reducing because the quality of our funding has reduced. So there is brain drain, the good lecturers that should stay to teach are floating out and taking up other nations.”