By Funmi Ogundare and Kuni Tyessi
As part of efforts to reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country, the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) has concluded plans to award scholarships to 400,000 indigent children per year for a period of three years.
The National President of the association, Chief Yomi Otubela, who disclosed this recently, during a virtual briefing to commemorate the 2020 annual NAPPS Day themed ‘Digital Revolution as a Tool in Revamping Nigeria’s Education in Post COVID-19 Era’ said it has already communicated its decision to partner with the Federal Ministry of Education in proffering solution to the nagging problem.
He said “it is the unanimous decision of the national executives of NAPPS that each of about 40,000 proprietors in NAPPS shall oblige to award scholarships to a target of 10 indigent children per year for a consecutive three years.
“It should be noted that our member schools before now had been devoted to giving different forms of scholarships to indigent students, but we want to do more. With this, the association is poised to remove a minimum of about 400,000 children from the streets each year. Within the period, our target is to reduce the rate by four per cent per annum as an addition to government’s efforts.”
Speaking on the theme, he said it is appropriate as it gives an insight into the plethora of challenges school owners have had to confront in the past months which indeed had reshaped the way they do things due to rude interruption on every aspect of life.
Otubela commended the support of the management of School Try (an ICT company) to NAPPS member private schools throughout the federation in the bid for member schools to adopt digitalisation of school processes.
“We implore member schools that are yet to digitalize their processes to adopt School Try for their online learning processes at no cost.
As the world is getting fully digitalised, it is imperative that private schools and by extension, Nigeria’s education system fully embrace remote learning and automated administrative processes in their operations. It is only through this that our education system can begin the process of providing services in line with best practices.”
In his remarks, the founder and Chancellor, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, who emphasised on the theme, said the virtual meeting was timely, as it allows people to share information and data in real time without being physically located together.
“This meeting is to educate your audience which in itself has brought a revolution about the way we were doing things way back in the analogue days. But all of those have since changed. ⅞We can now communicate with the world right where you are seated through the instrumentalities of your hand set and computers. You can do all your bank transactions from your living rooms.
He advised teachers to harness digital revolution to make education better.
The executives of NAPPS and the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON) had earlier paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu in Abuja, where they expressed their readiness to reduce the rate of out-of-school children to complement government’s efforts.
Otubela commended the federal government for the recent approval of a special salary scale and new retirement age for teachers, while appealing for the establishment of a special grant and palliative fund for teachers in private schools.
In his remarks, the President of APSON, Dr. Godly Opukeme said the recent disengagement of N-Power beneficiaries by the government calls for concern, as they were assigned to drive innovation for teaching and learning process in basic schools.
He said the federal government should deploy its officials to schools across the country to ascertain if schools have fully reopened in order to monitor the enforcement of COVID-19 protocols.
In his response, Adamu sought to know why there are two groups with the same motives and missions and advised that merging the groups into one formidable force would be in the interest of the government and the proprietors whose major aim is to advance education especially at the basic level.