The Administrator, Grace Schools, Gbagada, Lagos, Mrs. Tokunbo Edun has called on governments at all levels to give education the priority it deserves if the country wants to achieve its development goals.
Briefing journalists in Lagos to announce the forthcoming 50th anniversary celebration of the school, Edun stated that the major problem in the sector has been poor funding as no government has met the minimum funding level recommended by UNESCO.
“With illiteracy rate still as high as 35 per cent in a population of about 120 million people, it means a large number of our people cannot quite clearly participate actively in the development process due to illiteracy and poverty.”
She also decried the high cost of running a private school, saying that on a weekly basis the school spends N500,000 on diesel used to maintain generators due to unstable power supply in the country. Her “Among the challenges facing Grace Schools and other private schools is the issue of poor facilities, due to poor electricity supply we spend so much money to maintain generators leading to a situation where are spend about half a million naira weekly to buy diesel for our generators. This is different from the cost of service and general maintenance of the generators.”
She also condemned what she described as exorbitant charges, levies and taxes being demanded by government agencies. For example Lagos private schools have to pay for display of bill boards, registration taxes and sundry levies. She disclosed that recently the Association of Private Educators, An umbrella organisation for owners of elite private schools, had to institute legal action against the Industrial Training Fund which demanded that each private school in Lagos should contribute N30 million to the fund.
As she put it, “we were not convinced that we should pay that kind of huge amount to an organization funded by the federal government She added instead of supporting private schools, government agencies see them as sources of revenue generation.
While promising that the management and staff will work hard to ensure a glorious future for the school, she said for 17 years Grace High School has been awarding scholarship to indigent but brilliant student from public schools. The scholarship is for senior secondary one (SS1) to first degree.
She said series of activities have been line up to celebrate the 50th anniversary among which is a book launch schedule for January 13, 2018.