By G9ija

The National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) has urged the Federal Government to engage the association in the development of educational policies for the country.

It also called for a synergy between the two to ensure the advancement of the private education sub-sector.

National President of the association, Chief Yomi Otubela who made the call at a virtual briefing in commemoration of this year’s NAPPS Day, said the body is committed to the comprehensive education and nurturing of the Nigerian children for functional quality living and nation-building.

Otubela stated that the theme, ‘’Digital revolution as a tool in revamping Nigeria’s education in post-COVID-19 era’’ gives an insight into the plethora of challenges school owners had to confront in the past months, which have reshaped the way they do things.

Looking at the challenges in the subsector, he said the abrupt closure of schools by the government to protect students across the country against the pandemic, brought untold hardship on private schools owners who rely on school fees to meet up with obligations, such as payment of staff salaries, operational costs and repayment of loans obtained from various financial institutions.

Otubela said the government should take a critical look at the issue of multiple taxations as it affects private schools, and also liaise with states to eliminate duplication of taxes and levies, noting that the issue has become a factor in unseating many schools.

“We propose the establishment of a special financial institution, such as education bank to support private schools with concessionary interest (single-digit loan) that takes peculiarity of school operations into account, like the one provided by the Bank of Industry (BoI) for the manufacturing activities. This has become imperative given the increasing interest rate on loan capital for private schools, “he said.

While commending the government for the recent approval of a special salary scale and new retirement age for teachers, Otubela urged the Federal Government to establish a special grant for teachers in private schools, saying the gesture will not only encourage both public and private school teachers to render effective service, it would also make the government be fully committed to supporting the sector.

The body also charged the government to assist in the unification of different academic calendars, so that children can be fully prepared to sit for external examinations. Otubela said the varied resumption of schools after the lockdown has made states to run different academic calendars.

To address the increasing cases of out-of-school children, Otubela said each of the about 40,000 proprietors in the association will award scholarships to 10 indigent children per year for a period of three years.
   
Founder and Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, lamented that the government’s commitment to the sector has declined over the years, while funding is still below the 26 per cent recommended by UNESCO.
 
Babalola said for our universities to become world-class, teachers must be ready to embrace new technology.