Caroline Yakubu, the Executive Secretary of the Africa Community School and the Africa International College under the chairmanship of former head of state, Yakubu Gowon, has decried multiple taxes and levies on private schools in the country.
This is as he noted that the roles played by private schools to strengthen the education sector in Nigeria can not be overemphasised.
Yakubu urged the government to eliminate the multiple taxes on private schools, noting that it has proven to be a bottleneck in the running of the day-to-day activities of private schools.
Taking our correspondent down memory lane on the sideline of a news conference organised to herald the 20th-anniversary celebration of the schools, Yakubu noted some previous attempts of the government to nationalise private and mission schools some of which failed.
“The place and role of private schools in our educational system cannot be over-emphasised. During the military era, they tried to nationalise many private schools, including mission schools. How did it end?
“Unquantifiable losses were the experiences and we are still paying heavily for the errors.
“In the FCT alone, there are over 2,400 private schools and about 830 public schools. Again, imagine an FCT where there are no privately run schools. What would be the implications all around?” she asked.
Speaking on the impact of the Africa Community School and Africa International College, the school administrator also noted that the schools have impacted no fewer than 109 learners with scholarships gulping about N70 million.
She also said the schools also collaborated with some public schools in the locality by supporting them with materials to help learners.
”The items include furniture, books and other learning materials. Besides, the folks and indigenes that reside around our locations have been employed within their appropriate skills. More importantly, God has helped us to positively impact the educational pursuit of many learners who have passed through our schools.
“In Africa Community School, over 109 students have benefited from our internal scholarship and support schemes totaling nearly N70 million and still counting.
“At the other end, in Africa International College, we have reached out to over 92 students totaling about N90 million. For the two schools, God has enabled us to support the training of more than 200 learners with over N160 million spent on them.
“These are verifiable persons and figures. These were students who, through no fault of theirs, lost one or both parents, while they were with us or children from proven economically disadvantaged families,” she said.
Yakubu said that the school had made it a policy that once a child is admitted into the school and he/she loses any or both parents, that child must not be withdrawn on account of inability to pay school fees.