Why We Cannot Sanction Charterhouse School Over N42m School Fees- Lagos Govt …Says It Rescues 13,000 Out-Of- School Children, Shuts 13 Schools For Infraction

By BENJAMIN OMOIKE LAGOS, Nigeria – Lagos State Government has explained why it cannot sanction British Charterhouse Schools in Lekki charging exorbitant fees ( N42m per annum).

The state government says 13,000 out of school children in the state have been reabsorbed into school for basic and secondary education in the last four years.

The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Jamiu Alli-Balogun, gave the figure while giving account of his stewardship in the last one year in Alausa, Ikeja.

While answering questions after reeling out achievements of Governor Sanwo-Olu in the Education sector, during the 2nd day of the 2024 Ministerial Press Briefing, held at Alausa Secretariat, Alli-Balogun added that 12 private schools were equally shut down in the last one year over various infractions, ranging from poor standards, safety issues, illegal operations and other contraventions.

With different issues on education in the news recently, Alli-Balogun said the ministry had its work cut out for it but that officers were doing everything to address every situation.

From left: Permanent Secretary, Basic & Secondary Education, Mr Abayomi Abolaji; Commissioner for Basic Education, Mr Jamiu Alli-Balogun and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, during the Lagos State Government 2024 Ministerial Press Briefing by the Ministry of Basic Education in Lagos on Thursday (25/04/24).

He said the top officials had visited a school in Ilupeju that denied admission to Nigerian children and that appropriate sanctions would be duly handed out.

He added that of the 13,000 out of school children who were reabsorbed, over 2,600 were rescued in the last one year.

The Commissioner stressed that teachers in public primary and secondary schools had been motivated through prompt salary payments, wage award, training and improved teaching environment.

On behaviour of learners in schools, Mr. Alli-Balogun, who said bullying and other negative attitude had no place in Lagos schools, called on parents and guardians to be intentional in the training of their children for a conducive learning environment for students.

Mr. Alli-Balogun said the state government had paid over N4.2 billion for West African Examinations Council, WAEC, candidates in the last four academic years, while over N1 billion had been approved for the 2024 examinations.

On the issue of some private schools charging exorbitant fees in the state, especially with reference to the N42m school fees being charged by Charterhouse Schools, the Commissioner said it cannot sanction the school, situated in Lekki area of the state, over the fees it charges a student per annum because it has no right to do so.

He stressed that the state government had no control over fees charged by private school owners.

“We regulate activities of private schools but the schools are there to make money. They can charge any amount. It’s left for the parents to make their choice of school. It’s the parents that take their children to the private schools. As a government, we can’t compel them to charge a certain amount. We don’t have control over their prices, “ the Commissioner noted.

He urged parents to patronise public schools, as the state had invested in infrastructure.

He equally advised parents to send their children to schools which are affordable, rather than sending their children and wards to schools where they end up struggling to pay the fees.

Alli-Balogun further said that Sanwo-Olu’s administration had done a lot in the education sector by building four new schools since 2019 while three others were under construction.

“While 165 public schools have been rehabilitated, 1,047 new classrooms have been built to date in all the six educational districts through the Special Committee on Rehabilitation of Public Schools (SCRPS).”

Other achievements, according to the Commissioner, include the promotion of 2,902 teaching and non-teaching staff ‘with a view to boosting their morale and enhancing their commitment to teaching career and retention in the system.’

In the area of learning materials, Alli-Balogun said 5,000 learning packs under ‘Lagos Learns Together” (LLT), have been distributed to public schools, among other initiatives which has impacted positively on the education sector in the state.

Earlier, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, said education was important to the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu-administration, hence, the increased investment in the sector.

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