By Adesina Wahab
In a bid to help reduce the number of out-of-school children, OSC, school owners under the aegis of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS, have said they will offer 40,000 scholarships annually for the next three years for children in that category.
They made the promise on Monday during the virtual celebration of NAPPS Day.
According to the National President, Otunba Yomi Otubela, the association was not comfortable with the high figure of OSC in the country put at about 10.5 million last year by the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, that conducted a survey on the issue.
Otubela noted that with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the attendant negative effects on the economy, the figure would have risen.
“Notwithstanding the fact that we are also affected by the pandemic, we take it as a matter of social responsibility and helping to give a brighter future to our children and we are going to give the scholarship awards to indigent students who could drop out of school because of lack of funds.
“Every member will give a minimum of 10 awards to deserving pupils and students and we will do that for at least three years. We hope our contributions will eventually help reduce the figure of OSC significantly,” he said
He also appealed to school owners across the country not to burden parents and guardians with unnecessary increase in fees, saying everybody was affected by the pandemic.
He also urged state governments yet to reopen schools to do so, as the pandemic was now abating.
“The change we desire in our nation can be driven by quality education and therefore we must strengthen private investors in education,” he added.
On the disparity in how schools are running their schedules, Otubela called for a unification of the schedules so that some schools would not be left behind.
He appealed to the government to reduce the tax burden on his members and also support them with soft loans among others.
In his goodwill message, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, who is also the Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, ABUAD, commended the association for its tireless efforts at boosting the growth of education in the country.
He noted that with 79 private universities in the country and thousands of private primary and secondary schools, school owners were a force to reckon with.
The theme of the celebration was “Digital revolution as a tool for revamping Nigeria’s education in post-COVID-19 era”.