The private school owners at primary and secondary school levels nationwide are set to give scholarship to no fewer than 1.2 million children from financially disadvantaged homes and those in the various internally displaced persons’ camps across the country.
They said the initiative was part of their contributions to reduce out-of-school-children putting their number at over 10.5 millions according UNESCO statistics from the streets across the country.
The school owners under the aegis of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) made this disclosure at an event organised virtually to mark its 2020 Special Day on Monday via Zoom.
The event has “Digital revolution as a tool in revamping Nigeria’s education in post COVID-19 era’’ as theme and featured the erudite lawyer and founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, as the guest speaker.
Speaking at the event, the National President of NAPPS, Yomi Otubela, said the high number of out- of-school children in the country was worrisome and something concrete must have to be done fast and by all the stakeholders to tackle the challenge.
He said each of NAPPS members, who are up to 40,000 nationwide had resolved to give scholarship awards in their various schools to minimum of 10 indigent children each year and does that consecutively for three years, making total number of beneficiaries to be around 1.2 million.
He said the number would be an addition to other indigent students already enjoying one form of scholarship or the other in their various schools.
While noting that private schools are still struggling to get over the financial crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic which shut them out of business for over six months, he said even at that, no private school is justified at the moment to increase school fees as the pandemic affected all and sundry.
He however, echoed the need for government to establish education bank just like Bank of Industry to enable many private schools to access single digit interest loans to develop their schools while asking NAPPS members to take their health and wellness, as well as their service delivery more seriously.
On his part, the guest speaker, Aare Afe Bababalola, lamented the poor state of public schools in Nigeria today, looking it from the angle of incessant strikes by teachers, low government budget to the sector and poor facilities, among others.
He recalled his growing-up days, saying if not for quality education at the period, he would not likely be able to do self-learning to become a university graduate after his primary education.
He however, noted that covid-19 had in disguise helped everyone across sectors of the economy including education to embrace digital learning and teaching.
He said any university that is aspiring to be a world-class anywhere globally now must have to go digital.