By Emmanuel Edukugho
Private school owners under the umbrella of Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED) have pleaded that the Lagos State Government should revisit the contentious aspect of its policy which does not allow the use of converted structures.
AFED President, Pastor Joe Ejenavi, called for understanding such that schools in converted buildings can be given provisional approval pending when they get the required structure.
â€œThis is not to say we want to compromise the government policy but pray and elicit your understanding regarding our peculiar case.â€
He made the plea at AFED Annual Congress 2010 attended by over 2,000 school owners on Friday at NECA House, Alausa, Ikeja, while the Deputy Governor and Commissioner for Education, Princess Adebisi Sarah Sosan (represented) was the special guest of hounour. Theme of the Congress was â€œAFED Position on Sub-Standard Schools in Lagos State.â€
He said that AFED leadership has done a lot to compliment government efforts in education: â€œAmongst many others, we have consistently educated our members on the path of honour to follow. Members have been advised to specialise so as to have an easy lee way. Thus rather than run nursery, primary and secondary school all in one sweep, we can concentrate our resources in one area.â€
The association has urged members to merge in order to harness their resources for better productivity and have school that would be the envy of all.
Ejenavi asserted that a good number of these schools have built individuals that with a proper statistics would show the commitment of the school owners, pointing out that research revealed that majority of the children in these schools are faring well academically.
While reassuring that AFED is solidly behind every policy statement of this administration and education in particular, he pleaded that â€œthere should be a human face to it.â€
According to him, many of the school owners have been advanced loans to better the structural outlook of their school.
â€œSome of these committed educationists have got loans that would have to be serviced in four, five or even more years. It is expected that as times unfold, the structures of such schools would begin to wear a new look.â€
Those who are yet to do any tangible thing were urged to begin now and put all hands on deck before government would come with the hammer. He noted that the major complaint is about the environment where they find themselves.
â€œIn certain parts of Lagos, there are no virgin lands, thus an individual who wishes to contribute to societal growth through education would first get a structure whether on rent or outright purchase,â€ adding, â€œit is only after this that such an individual would begin to save or source for loan to restructure the place to meet the required standard.â€
Mr. Ibikun Daramola, Deputy Director, Private Education, Ministry of Education, Lagos State, in his speech, explained the evolution of government policies, expectations from policy implementation agencies, the statutory needs for starting a school, the type of building, registration procedures which include name search, site, obtaining an approval/registration form, approval inspection and the statutory records to be kept by the school.
â€œIt is very important to comply with the Lagos State Guidelines on the establishment of private school so that your school is not classified as unapproved,â€ he advised.