By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
Private Schools abound in Nigeria and their owners are largely seen as uncompromising when it comes to collection of schoolÂ fees. Infact, as from the second week of a newÂ term, children who are yet to pay their fees could be driven home in order to force their defaulting parents to pay irrespective of whether they have the means of paying or not.
This is the common trend in most schools.
However, the initiation of an educational foundation by Christ The Saviour School, Ipaja, a private nursery and primary school in Lagos, which is meant to offer succour to financially handicapped parents, sharply contrasts with the pecuniary tendency of many school owners.
The educational foundation, which commences this academic session, will cater for orphans, financially bankrupt parents, widowsâ€™ children and the children of pastors.
The proprietress of the school, Mrs Elizabeth Ogunade made this known to Vanguard Education Weekly.
She disclosed that under the arrangement, tuition fee will be free for orphans, 50% of the tuition free will be waived for financially handicapped parents while bursary awards will be given to pastorsâ€™ and widowsâ€™ children.
She explained that the hardship which her husband, Pastor Ogunade went through early in life and the urge to serve God and humanity informed the initiative for assisting the less privileged.
Ogunade says: â€œMy husband lost his mother the very year he started primary school. That was inÂ 1951. He passed through hardship and both of us decided not to allow any of our pupilsâ€™ education to stop as a result of being an orphan or due to the inability of their parents to pay school fees. In fact, poor parents who enjoy 50% waiver can pay the remaining 50% instalmentally.â€
Asked how the school management distinguishes parents who can conveniently pay the school fees of their children from those who cannot afford to pay, Mrs Ogunade says, â€œParents of some brilliant pupils in our school keep on begging for their failure to pay their childrenâ€™s school fees.
Some of them even find it difficult to buy uniform for their children. Since these children are performing brilliantly at school, their parents will certainly be most willing to pay if they have the means.
We are of the opinion that theseÂ children have a greatÂ future and we are interested in helping academically. But our vision is not limited to academic achievement alone. We also strive to make the children know Jesus Christ from the early period of their life as we have the vision of developing them socially, morally and spiritually.
We support the parents in giving our pupils moral training and they are better for it. We develop these pupils on strong Christian values.â€
Mrs Ogunade who is a pastor like her husband explains further that apart from the development of the pupilsâ€™ â€œIntelligent Quotientâ€ (IQ), Christ The Saviour School has identified â€œEmotional Intelligenceâ€ (EQ) as crucial to the total development of a children.
She says: â€œIn todayâ€™s changing world, good academic qualifications are simply not enough to ensure success in life. Our children must be able to identify their needs and those of others.
The children need to develop feelings of empathy and learn to interact positively with friends, relatives and strangers alike. They need to be emotionally stable.â€
This is exactly the training we give our pupils here apart from developing their intelligent quotient.â€