PRESS RELEASE ADDRESS OF THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROPRIETORS OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS (NAPPS) CHIEF YOMI OTUBELA FCMA IN COMMEMORATION OF 2020 ANNUAL NAPPS DAY HELD ON 12TH OCTOBER 202
*PRESS RELEASE ADDRESS OF THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROPRIETORS OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS (NAPPS) CHIEF YOMI OTUBELA FCMA IN COMMEMORATION OF 2020 ANNUAL NAPPS DAY HELD ON 12TH OCTOBER 2020.*
Aare Chief Afe Babalola SAN, OFR,
(Founder & Pro - Chancellor Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State)
Chairman, NAPPS BOT & Members,
NAPPS Past Presidents, Excos & leaders,
Zonal Vice Presidents & Excos,
Past Zonal Vice Presidents,
State Chairmen & Excos,
Past State Chairmen, Excos & leaders,
Local Goverment Chairmen & Excos,
Ward Leaders & Excos,
Distinguished NAPPS Members,
Gentlemen of Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It gives me great pleasure to congratulate my distinguished colleagues to this press briefing under the aegis of the foremost private school association in the country, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools(NAPPS) as we celebrate yet another NAPPS day in the annals of our most cherished association .
*WHO WE ARE:*
National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) serves as the umbrella body for over 40,000 private school owners in the country with membership cutting across all the 774 local governments of the federation. NAPPS is a registered organization recognized by the Federal Government of Nigeria, regulated through the Federal Ministry of Education. We are committed to the comprehensive education and nurturing of the Nigerian Children for functional quality living and nation-building. We align with the Federal Government’s determination in pursuing and achieving the educational goals of our country. As it is today, we are the foremost association with the majority of the private schools in Nigeria as members. We seek to establish a stronger relationship with the Federal Ministry of Education to accommodate all other registered associations, to bring all private schools under our union for more meaningful public/private partnership in education. NAPPS, as a body, has been in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education since 2005 till date. The partnership, which has culminated to the regular participation of NAPPS in National Council of Education (NCE), Joint Consultative Committee on Education (JCC) etc.
Firstly, l salute the courage & dedication of our past leaders in bequething to us this great association we can presently be proud of. Their names are as
Late Prince Tayo Adepega 2005--2008
Dr. Sai'd Mijinyawa 2008--2011
Late Dr. Okoh 2011--2013
Dr. Kurfi 2013-2015
Dr. Sally Bolujoko 2015--2019
Chief Yomi Otubela 2019--till date
I also salute the dedication of the BOT & NEC executives, Zonal Vice Presidents, State Chairmen, Local Government Chairmen and all their executives, leaders and distinguished members in their quest and resolute to remain undeterred even in the face of challenges imposed on us as a result of the pandemic in providing quality education for the benefit of the Nigerian children. We must not fail also to salute the courage of the teachers in keeping faith with the private education sub-sector despite the interruption in their salary payment occasioned by the pandemic
We appreciate the supportive role played by the Nigerian parents/ various stakeholders to ensure that teaching and learning for their children were maintained safely through various virtual learning platforms during the closure of schools and even after the reopening of schools by ensuring children’s compliance with the laid down COVID -19 safety protocols in schools.
In the same vein, we appreciate the intervention/role of the Federal Government in ensuring the safe reopening of schools throughout the country which was justifiably closed to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19.
The selected theme for this year NAPPS day ‘’Digital Revolution As a Tool In Revamping Nigeria’s Education in Post COVID-19 Era’’ is appropriate as it gives an insight into the plethora of challenges school owners have had to confront in the past months which indeed have reshaped the way we do things due to rude interruption on every aspect of our lives. To this, we appreciate the support from the management of School Try (an Information and Communication Technology 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 educational system can begin the process of providing services in line with best international practices.
You would agree with me that this year has been unusually challenging for school owners and individuals as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which unfortunately led to the closure of schools in the bid to contain the spread of the virus. It was even reported that over 1.2 billion children worldwide were out of the classrooms in the wake of the pandemic. The situation which eventually gave rise to the digital revolution through remote learning as the alternative means of teaching and learning to contain the spread of the Coronavirus infection within the school environment.
This abrupt closure of schools by the government to protect the students in the country, unfortunately, brought a lot of untold hardship on private schools owners who rely heavily on school fees to meet up with obligations such as payment of staff salaries, operational costs and repayment of loans obtained from various financial institutions.
Therefore, the reality of the abrupt closure of schools and the sudden break in the economic cycle of private schools due to the present COVID- 19 pandemic was rather challenging for our members and up till this moment, our members are still struggling to overcome the impact of the
I must admit that in our country, few sectors have been as severely affected as the private education sub-sector. The situation which got worsened by the fact that the education sector took a longer period to reopen compared to most sectors of the economy.
Given this unfortunate development, NAPPS in its effort to ensure that the interest of members was safeguarded in the equation of things in the country set the ball rolling by making several moves through letters, virtual engagements etc to both the Federal Government and Governmental agencies to push for palliatives to cushion the effect of the pandemic on members.
Also, NAPPS organized several press conferences and granted several interviews which were widely publicized in various media outlets to communicate the minds of private school owners to the Federal and State governments regarding the challenges faced by private school owners in the country.
*STATE OF THE NIGERIA’S EDUCATION: INCREASING RATE OF OUT OF SCHOOL CHILDREN*
While applauding the Federal Government’s efforts to increase access to school, NAPPS views with grave concern the increasing population of out of school children in the country which has been a source of worry to the country and particularly worsened by the fact that the Child Rights Act has not been effective due to non- passage into law by some states. For instance, a situation where the rate of out-of-school children is as high as over 10.5m children as captured through the survey conducted by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) portends a sad development for our quest to increase the literacy rate in the country.
However, NAPPS has decided and communicated our strong decision to partner with the Federal Ministry of Education in proffering solution. Therefore, 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 ten (10) indigent children per year for a consecutive three (3) 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 4% per annum as an addition to government efforts.
With this arrangement, NAPPS assures that private schools will be willing to lend its support to the Federal Government in reducing the number of out of school children in the country.
There is, therefore, an urgent need for the Ministry of Education and National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) to forge ahead with a win-win strategy taking into account what is realistic, pragmatic and workable for the benefit of the Nigerian learners. NAPPS as an association will be willing to demand the following from the government for consideration;
Regular input of NAPPS in the development of the educational policies of the government.
A synergy that promotes professional development in the private education sub-sector.
A critical look at the issue of multiple taxations as it affects private schools, we make bold to say that multiple taxations have become a factor unseating many of our schools and as such, we humbly request Federal Government to liaise with various states to eliminate duplication of taxes and levies.
We propose for the establishment of a special financial institution such as education bank to support private schools with concessionary interest(single digit) that takes peculiarity of school operations into account in a similar fashion to the one provided by the Bank of Industry for the manufacturing activities. This has become imperative given the increasing interest rate on loan capital for private schools.
While we commend the Federal Government for the recent approval of a special salary scale and new retirement age for teachers in commemoration of the 2020 World Teachers Day. However, we also urge the Federal Government to establish a special grant/ palliative fund for the teachers in private schools. We believe, this gesture, will not only encourage both public and private school teachers in delivering better services but will also make government be fully committed to supporting the educational system in all ramifications in the country.
NAPPS appreciates the consideration given to private schools to be included in the ongoing registration for Federal Government survival fund for payroll support of the MSMEs.
We note that the varied resumption of schools after closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made different states to be currently running different academic calendars. For instance, while some states are presently running 3rd term of the 2019/2020 academic session, some states have already moved on to 1st term 2020/2021 academic session. While we feel this may not be good for the development for our education, we want the Federal Government to assist in the unification of these different academic calendars so that our children can be fully prepared to sit for external examinations.
*LOSS OF DISTINGUISHED MEMBERS*
15. While we appreciate the fact that despite all odds, we could celebrate this year’s NAPPS Day even though on a low key, we are so pained that amid the pandemic, it is rather unfortunate that we lost several distinguished members of NAPPS to the cold hands of death. our prayer is that may their beautiful souls continue to rest in perfect peace and may the Lord console their bereaved families.
16. My submission to the distinguished members is that even though we have been badly hit by the pandemic, I appeal that we remain calm and be strategic in our decision making. I urge us, school owners, to attend to their health regularly and seek medical attention where and when necessary and above all, they should be positive and have the belief that this too shall pass because I have strong faith that there will be light at the end of the tunnel for every one of us.
Once more, we want to appreciate our distinguished legal luminary and educationist Aare Afe Babalola SAN, OFR, CON for the honour of gracing this event with us and other stakeholders for their continued support for the private education sub-sector in the country. I appreciate the Federal Government and state governments for ensuring the safety resumption of schools and providing the environment for quality education to thrive in the country. I thank the gentlemen of press for always projecting our voice to the world through their various media platforms whenever we call upon them. And to everyone attending this press conference to celebrate with NAPPS, you are simply the best.
Thank you and God bless.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Long Live National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools!
UP NAPPS! Nurturing for National Development!
Chief ‘Yomi Otubela Fcma
National President NAPPS.