Why we’ve chosen to train 300 Nigerian teachers free ― Buckingham University

•Lagos commissioner applauds AFED

University of Buckingham, United Kingdom has explained why it had chosen to train Nigerian teachers in low cost private primary and secondary schools and also gives them tablets loaded with course materials and Wi-fi free of charge.

Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor James Tooley, gave the explanation last Saturday at a commencement ceremony of the nine-month intensive certificate training course, saying it is mainly to contribute to the achievement the low-cost schools in Nigeria are making by providing qualitative and affordable education to children from poor homes.

The university is running the programme online and in partnership with the Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED), which is an umbrella body of low-cost schools in Nigeria with a total of 300 teachers and mostly from Lagos State as a pioneer set.

Speaking virtually via Zoom platform alongside the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo and some faculty members of the university at the event held in Lagos, Tooley, a professor of educational entrepreneurship and education policy, said he was particularly impressed that students of low-cost schools not only in Nigeria but in India, Pakistan and across the world are doing well and most times than their peers in public schools despite their challenges.

He said he had been longing to partner with a group of low-cost schools in Nigeria since he visited Lagos about 11 years ago and saw Makoko community from the Third Mainland Bridge on his way to Victoria Island with many children and low-cost schools there.

He said he was convinced since then that his school could help those children and their peers in other parts of the country by training their teachers as every child irrespective of family economic background deserved quality and affordable education.

He said the certificate course programme is made flexible as students would be able to run it alongside their official engagements conveniently.

In her own remarks, Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, commended AFED for the initiative, observing that the association is always finding ways to sharpen their teachers and managers skills so as to be more professional in their service delivery.

She said the Lagos State government particularly acknowledged the significant roles AFED members are playing in the state, promising continued support and collaborate with the association to move the sector forward.

She, however, revealed that the state government had earmarked N5 billion counterpart funding as credit facilities for the low-cost private schools in the state to access loans on a 9 % interest rate per annum and to be paid back within three years

Speaking earlier, AFED’s National President, Mr Emmanuel Orji Kanu, described the training programme as a milestone and dream comes true for AFED, noting that the overall objective is to ensure that children of poor parents, who are mostly in low-cost private schools get the best of education and be able to compete favourably with their peers elsewhere globally.

He said the course contents for the programme was developed by Nigerian educators and Buckingham faculty members and in a way to bridge the knowledge gap among participants, many of whom he said had all along founded it difficult to acquire the right competency training because of financial constraints.

He said the training would greatly enhance service delivery especially in this era of COVID-19 of the participating teachers and by extension, the teaching profession and the economy.

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