Poor attitude and unending suspicions attached to government owned establishments have been attributed as why people erroneously hold to the belief that public schools offer inferior education compared to private-owned schools.
This wrong perception was decried recently by Mr. Johnson Ibidapo, of the Human Development Initiative (HDI), during an interview with The Education Report at the sensitization of Ojo community stakeholders on basic education projects in the Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) 2017 action plan.
Ibidapo, who is the HDI’s program director, said this wrong notion and lack of confidence in government schools that make parents to opt for paying exorbitant fees to send their children to private schools. “Many pay through their nose at private schools even when they could get quality education for their children in public schools for little or nothing. It is actually more cost effective and rewarding to have your children in public schools.”
To buttress his arguments, Ibidapo cited criteria for recruitment of teachers in both schools. According to him, public schools pay more emphasis in employing qualified teachers, while private schools consider cheap labour.
“There’s suspicion on government infrastructure and facility generally among Nigerians. It could be because they’ve been disappointed by the poor maintenance culture. However, many of such assertions may not be right, particularly in the education sector. When you compare the number of professional teachers we have in public schools and look at the caliber that private schools engage to deal with students and handle subjects in schools, you’ll be shocked that the public schools are better equipped than most of the private schools. This is because most private schools don’t bother so much about qualifications of their teachers. Rather they pay more attention and on cheap labour. But teachers in public schools are better trained and qualified because government doesn’t recruit people who are not qualified into public schools.”
Ibidapo suggested consistent sensitization as a way to change this negative perception towards public schools. “But that is not true because to a reasonable level many of our public schools are working especially in Lagos State. And that is why we’re engaging the people on the UBE program and the SUBEB action plan, to tell them that government projects are their projects.”
Commending the sensitization of community stakeholders, the education secretary of the Local Government Education Authority, (LGEA) Ojo, Tolani Sule, said he expects the stakeholders to understand their roles in enthroning quality education in public schools within the community.