Dr Bukola Dosumu,the Director of Toddlers Haven and Everest Heights Academy, Gwagwalada, Abuja, has called on the institutions regulating the activities of private schools to strengthen their mandate and penalise those deviating from the norm.
Dosumu made this known in an interview during the 15th annual thanksgiving and rededication service of the school, suggesting that private schools falling short of the standards should be shut down.
“The government should conduct adequate and effective census of the schools that we have in this country. They have done something like that before and they generated minimum standards of operation. The schools were given enough time to meet the minimum standards. If after this period, the schools don’t meet them, they can take a drastic step by closing down the schools. This is because some of us are not called for it; it is the government that created the vacuum; it is government’s inability to provide quality education that brought in private schools,” she said.
According to her, the major challenge facing the private school business is the same affecting the private sector.
“The fact is that our institutions that should seek to enforce standards, protect consumers, are weak, as such they add to the challenges. By regulatory agencies, I am talking about the Federal Ministry of Education, State Ministries of Education, Department of Quality Assurance in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and zonal education offices,” She added.
“The regulatory institutions are weak and the entry requirements are virtually zero. Somebody is selling fish today, tomorrow he is running a school. People just put up structures and we think such structures are real. These are the challenges that the genuine people running education in the private sector are facing. By and large, we are weathering the storm, we have associations that we are using to raise the standards. It is simply because the regulation is poor that is why ownership of private schools have become everybody’s affair.
“The Proprietress made comparison to what is obtained in foreign countries by saying, “In developed countries, you can’t just start a school.There are processes that must be followed and certain conditions they must be satisfied with before you can start running a school. But in Nigeria, even when we tell them we want to start a private school, they will say ‘start, we will come and check’ and by the time they come and check, you may have already put in so much money and they will find it difficult to close down the school,”Dosumu said.
Dosumu recommended that if certification of the Securities, Exchange Commission and other banking regulators are the requirements for opening a bank, the same thorough process should not be overlooked in the education sector.