By Bianca Iboma
The immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Rahamon Bello, has identified poor funding of the education sector as a major hindrance to the nation’s economic development.
Prof. Bello made the observation while delivering a lecture on ‘Private Education in Nigeria, sustainability in the next 50 years’. He gave the lecture to mark the 50th anniversary celebration of Grace Schools Gbagada Lagos.
He also disclosed that quality education is vital for human resources development which in turn promotes economic development.
Bello submitted that private education would continue to be part of the Nigeria educational system because public schools will not guarantee quality education as long as it is under-funded and mismanagement remains part of its culture.
The former VC argued that even when the economy improves it will only give more space to private schools because the middle class will prefer private school if they can afford the fees in a situation where public schools continue to offer low quality services.
He noted that: “A ban on private school is highly unlikely in the future. The demand for private education rather than wane in the years ahead is likely to increase. The public sector is unlikely to have all the resources needed to provide all the shades of schools needed to meet the demands of the 6-3-3-4 policy on education. The private sector investment in private education is very substantial and will continue to increase. Government must therefore fine tune their strategies on regulation through monitoring and inspection.”
Administrator of Grace Schools, Mrs. Tokunbo Edun, in her remarks, disclosed that the school was founded for children living in the rural areas to receive quality education as Gbagada area of Lagos State was, at the time, considered rural and far from the heart of the city where the rich reside.
Mrs. Edun also assured that the schools would continue to adhere to the ideals of the founder by continually rendering quality service noting that it is only in Nigeria that people attribute so much to certificate than the development of a child.
“Education should go beyond grades and certificate, additional skill is equally required for the total development of a child,” she said.
The educationist noted that most Nigerians would agree with her that the state of many public educational institutions is not encouraging.
She said education in developed countries is prioritized as a basic need with adequate funding unlike our nation where legislators are given priority. Things must change for us to advance in development.
“The trend for teaching and non-teaching staff in public schools going on strike to press for payment of salaries and provision of necessary facilities has made public education develop gradually. The major challenge of public education still remains the commitment by the government to focus on funding public education to enhance qualitative learning and that requires workable approach towards achieving it”, she pointed out.”