IN the highly competitive world of today, students with good educational backgrounds survive the harsh socio-economic and political environment, while students with poor education languish in crushing circumstances. Sound schools provide good quality of instructions and wealth of research resources, and students who are used to them excel, getting the opportunity to surmount their obstacles. With the current emphasis on acquiring information communication and technology (ICT) skills, students trained in the sector forge ahead in material and educational pursuits, able to adapt to the changing needs of the times.
THESE come to mind following news reports about a mass exodus of students in Ondo state from private primary and secondary schools to state-owned institutions, with the beginning of the new term. The Hope commends parents for taking their children to public schools as this portends a return of hope and confidence in the government-owned schools. However, we feel that the issue needs a deeper understanding, so that educational pursuits in this part of the world benefit all stakeholders.
NEEDLESS to say, the economic situation of the country worsens with every passing day, as parents groan over the escalating inflation rates, which cut deeply into their finances. Of course, heads of public schools claim they have made preparations for the new intakes and provided for all the necessary facilities and equipment to accommodate the new intakes, still, we call for caution over the matter.
UNFORTUNATELY, the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) chooses a time of escalating inflation rates to implement a revised school fees regime, with the minimum to be paid for day students fixed at N10,000 for pre-school pupils, N12,000 for nursery pupils, N14,000-N15,000 for primary schools, N20,000 for secondary schools and N24,000 for senior students. As if things haven’t gone bad enough, parents groan as cost of school materials takes an upwards trajectory, especially when prices of uniforms rises from N600 to N650 per yard of the clothing material, the cost of a 40-leaf exercise book having increased from N1,200 to between N1,500 and N1,600 and prices of text books having risen up astronomically.
IN order to cope with prices having escalated with regards to school materials and the new fee regime established by NAPPs, as well as stay above board at a time of grave economic difficulties, parents relocate their wards to public schools.
SADLY, this relocation won’t be easy, as the influx of students from private to public schools could over-stretch the existing spaces and facilies already in public schools. Apart from that, a challenge could emerge with the use of existing equipment such as computers in public schools, as they could also be over-stretched through the upsurge in students relocating to the government-owned institutions. Also, the teachers in schools could be over-stretched in their duties with the new development, as they could find it hard to add more students to their already choked schedule of work. With teachers groaning over the new development, the quality of instructions and wealth of resources could prove overwhelming, especially when the infrastructural facilities to withstand the situation become severely discomfiting.
BASED on this, The Hope calls for a system to cope with the exodus of students to public schools, so that in the long run, students from Ondo State can forge ahead in material and educational pursuits in the future, having the ability to adjust to the transformational technologies evolving almost daily both within and outside the country. Therefore, we call for an increase in the number of schools in the sector, and for this to happen, communities should partner with government, just as they did in the past, to establish schools and/or increase the number of classes available to students.
FAITH-based organizations should not leave themselves out of the exercise, as they should also help out in ensuring that the number of schools can accommodate the upsurge of students going to public schools.Public-spirited individuals should also brace up in relation to the construction of schools, to prevent an over-stretching of facilities. With faith-based organizations, public-spirited persons and communities banding together to prevent the over-stretching of facilities in schools, Ondo State will keep its enviable educational status among other states in the country.
ALSO, the government should perform a role in helping the state keep its enviable educational status in the country, by enacting measures against over-population in our schools. It should also enforce standards in school administration, so that private individuals wanting to set up institutions do not end up flooding the sector with mushroom schools. Through the cooperation of all stakeholders, good educational standards would be maintained in the primary and secondary schools’ sector, despite the influx of private school students to public schools.