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How to Run Private Schools Profitably


How to Run Private Schools Profitably

Following the high level of decadence that pervades the Nigerian educational system, discerning parents have continued to seek alternative means of preparing their wards for life challenges.

People are increasingly enrolling their children in in private schools where the standard of teaching is high and sustained.

According to the proprietor, EMCOY Favoured Montessori Nursery and Primary School, Ijaiye- Ogba, Lagos, Pastor Emmanuel Oluwafemi Oyewole, the quest for education in private schools has been on the increase following the fall in the standard of education in Nigeria since the late 1970s.

Oyewole, who has been running a nursery and primary school for over 20 years, says nursery and primary schools fall into different categories depending on the size and standard in terms of the facilities one wants.

However, the choice of any category, he said, is a function of availability of fund at one’s disposal.

Oyewole explains that he conceived the idea of setting up the school solely to contribute to the resuscitation of education in Nigeria, knowing fully well that monetary benefits would be essentially added to it..

He explains that he began the school from an uncompleted building. Hence, he says that nursery and primary school can take off in a small apartment and grow with time.

Oyewole says that he started the school with less than N5,000 in 1987, but notes that with the prevailing economic situation in the country , a minimum of N500,000 would be needed to establish such a small scale school, excluding the cost of securing a building for the venture. He adds that getting a building for the establishment gulps a large percentage of the capital. However, he adds that many nursery and primary schools took off with more than N20m.

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Basically, apart from the classrooms, one must provide lockers and benches, chalk and its board, dusters, rulers and other materials that will ensure efficient delivery, he says.

The Proprietor of Solid Structure School, Ifako-Ijaiye, Lagos, Mr. Toyin Eleoramo’s analysis is relatively similar to Oyewole’s. However, he adds that the size and standard of a private school depends on the taste and the mission of the proprietor.

He says that the bid to restore the moral training that had faded away in Nigeria educational system motivated him to invest in education.

He explains that he started the school in 1991 with less than N5,000, excluding the cost of building.

According to him, the same investment will now require an initial capital of N1.5m, considering the present economic situation in the country.

On the source of funding, Oyewole explains that money to set up nursery and primary schools could be raised from personal savings like in his own case, assistance from friends, taking soft loans from banks, contribution from co-operative societies, among others.

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According to him, a small scale nursery and primary school needs at least two or more teachers for a start and that more and more teachers and non-teaching staff should be recruited as the school expands.
He recommends that the teacher to student ratio should not exceed one to 15 for effective teaching.

He adds that a fast developing area is the best location for setting up a nursery and primary school as developing areas are usually confronted with the problem of availability of public schools, hence, the influx of pupils into private nursery and primary schools in Nigeria.

He counsels that the school should engage in moderate publicity for its growth and popularity. This, according to her, is to ensure patronage from the public because nursery and primary schools without a reasonable number of pupils, say 200 pupils, after three to four years of existence, cannot cope in the face of the challenges in the Nigerian economy, he says.

He adds that programmes like Christmas carol, professional day, end of year party, prize giving day and others serve as avenue to showcase and market the school to the public.

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He advises proprietors that the recruitment of competent staff should never be compromised in order to ensure the success of the venture, adding that effective communication between the school and the parents is an essential impetus to boost the growth of the school.

He says that school fees are determined by the prevailing economic condition at a particular time.

He adds that prudence, love for children, transparency, friendliness with people, hard work, effective management and fear of God must be embraced by proprietors to succeed in the venture.

Among the challenges of running nursery and primary schools are the unavailability of funds, delay in payment of fees, unnecessary charges by government, and others. He explains that the challenges are surmountable.

Eleoramo, on the other hand, adds that modern educational facilities are essential for proper training of pupils and such facilities attract higher enrolment of pupils. The school surroundings must be clean and attractive.

He states that in addition to the economic situation, cost and benefit analysis must be properly done to determine appropriate fees.

He adds that there is money in educational investments.

He, however, warns that the love for money should not be the bedrock of setting up a private school.

By David Amuwa

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