The Lagos State Ministry of Education has urged some parents of Model College students to accept an increase in boarding costs, claiming that it is in the best interests of the children as a whole.
Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, Commissioner for Education, made the request in response to some parents’ concerns over the revision of boarding costs at the 32 Model Colleges throughout the State from the 25,000 paid every term to N79.30k per meal for a student over the last 18 years. Many parents have shown sympathy for this circumstance.
The Ministry held discussions and interactions with model college and improved school parents’ forums, where the grounds for the review were ‘’clearly and unequivocally” listed. It was decided that a review of the fees was required owing to economic realities such as the present cost of food, electricity supplies, medical care, and general school upkeep.
The commissioner hinted that as of June 2021 the market cost of commodities and school maintenance services analysis showed that N125, 000 will be required to keep a student in a Model College with 80% of the cost to be expended on meals.
The resolve to peg the boarding fees at N50,000 per term is premised on the realisation that the State Government will bear N75,000 subsidy per child; while the School will receive subventions per term to cater for the expected gaps.
According to the commissioner, feeding a child at N73.30k per meal is not healthy for growth; hence the government cannot be running a boarding system with the same amount that has been in place for over 18 years. The State Government runs a free education policy, pays all public school students’ external examinations fees, provides and maintains infrastructure while parents of Model College students are only levied for the students’ feeding and maintenance.
However, Mrs Adefisayo said, the state government will continue to subsidize the boarding fees to improve the quality of education and the purpose of the establishment of Model Colleges and Upgraded Schools.
Mrs. Adefisayo spoke extensively on the major interventions and infrastructural upgrades in public schools by the government. Not less than 1,097 projects have been executed in 970 schools; 87,000 units of dual composite furniture for 775 primary and secondary schools and other facilities have been provided. There are also rehabilitation and new classrooms and hostels, security infrastructure, investment in technology for students, the institutionalisation of a maintenance plan for schools and an increase in school running cost, among others.
The commissioner pleaded for understanding from parents, stressing that the government’s decision is to give the students a better life while in school. Her words: “We did not come up with this cost randomly, but it took a lot of thinking, brainstorming and economic analyses, with the aim of giving the children comfort.”
Mrs. Adefisayo concluded by stating that the government runs a transparent policy in managing schools and has ensured that parents are involved in the management through the School-Based Management Committee for better relationships and an inclusive school governance system.
According to her, the state government recognizes that Model Colleges and Upgraded Schools serve as a positive catalyst for the restoration of quality education and will, therefore, continue to support them with the provision of facilities.