How do i tackle financial challenges facing my school effectively?

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FUNDING EDUCATION IN NIGERIA EFFECTIVELY

Challenges facing teaching and learning process in Nigeria include but not restricted to: series of strike actions, negligence of teachers, Lack of practical experiences by the Science teacher which attributed to lack of laboratory equipments, fear of damaging the equipments or insufficiency. These possible challenges are as a result of poor funding of as have been discuss in a previous post

Under-funding have been the bane of Quality Education in Nigeria as could be seen in the inadequacy of infrastructure, human resources and equipment in many institutions from the secondary to tertiary levels. It is unfortunate that, education has always been given the shorter end of the stick when it comes to statutory allocation of finances to the agents of government. It is unfortunate because there is money for Nigeria to sponsor free primary and secondary education but we lack the ability to use it properly. This portrays a gloomy future to the younger generation.  Also, our Government has failed to separate national issues from party issues. How then do i tackle financial challenges facing my school effectively?

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All hands have to be on deck to ensure effective funding of Education in Nigeria.  I agree with Prof. Patrick Okedinachi Utomi that Creativity is required in resource-challenged circumstances to finance education for good” (On his convocation lecture at Imo state university 16/3/16). It was indeed a master piece being delivered to the entire university community. This article can never be complete without taking a viable leaf from Prof. Utomi’s list of strategies for adequate financing of Education in Nigeria.

According to him, the Igbo nation forged a strategy of funding education that shared the burden between Government, Community Associations and the Missionaries. This programme known as Ibuanyi Danda called on the essential genius of a people. This example was to project creativity as the heart of funding education effectively.

            “my view of the path forward; if Nigeria, which has a population growth rate that places before it, life and death even, almost in the scriptural senses; is that if it educates its burgeons population right, it will gain a huge demographic dividend and become one of the great nations of our times. If it fails to do so well, it would create a time bomb that trumpets the title of Robert Kaplan’s prophesy: The coming Anarchy, as the youth bulge becomes sanctuary for strife, crime, terror and militancy. If we must choose life, that we may live, we need a strategy for financial management in the financial sector just as we need an alignment between the development strategies we choose and the educational strategies we opt for…..” –Prof. Utomi

Let me quickly state the network of strategies from his view;

  • ….with high levels of unemployment facing us today I think education should be partly utilitarian, advancing vocational skills education; science education and limited humanities scholarship to round up leaders who shape culture, bearing in mind that culture shapes human progress.
  • …..i suggest an “intermodel” network of education institutions not structure on hierarchy but on differential needs for knowledge. Vocational education is neither superior nor inferior to research and teaching on the years of enlightenment.
  • …..specific use taxes should be invested in a way that the returns from such a Fund would go into supporting research and recruiting quality faculty from around the world to universities that are Centres of excellence. Scholarship Schemes and loan schemes should then be established to ensure that bright students that desire the kind of education offered at these centres of excellence are not denied equality of opportunity that our egalitarian dreams require of us.
  • ……like with the Lagos Business School model, its leadership should have specific targets of contribution from industry resulting from how industry benefits from its relationship with industry.
  • ……cultivation of alumni to feel a duty to give back. From those who have had significant success the levy could be raised to a small amount like five thousand in a month plus whatever they would like to endow the institution with.

“It is this cocktail of financial strategies that can give the institutions the funding required to make them reach their quota in nation building” – Prof. Utomi.

However, from my point of view here are additional strategies that could give Education in Nigeria a facelift towards achieving set goals and visions;

  1. encourage the establishment and use of Endowment Fund:

This is money donated to provide income for the execution of some projects. During school functions like prize giving day, inter-house sports competitions, etc. As a means of spurring up interest on the part of donors, some specific structures, laboratories, or farms could be named after such donors. Considering the honour and title-crazy society that we have, this would encourage more of such people to even single handedly fund such projects. Take for instance, Chike Okoli automobile workshop. Appeals can be made by the school to governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropists and wealthy individuals as well as organizations to donate funds for the execution of some specific projects that will assist Education to achieve its mission for Nigeria.

  1. Establishment of Internally Generated Revenue Projects: This is another avenue that could be explored to facilitate funding of Education in times of global recession. School bakery, water and livestock farms should be restored. If livestock and crop farms are functional in schools, income from there could be used to settle some of the teething problems of Education. A management committee could then be set up to deliver these products to the public in a widely publicized open day in order to generate revenue for the school for the purpose of further promoting vocational education. Teachers of Vocational Education subjects/ courses should desist from giving assignments which only require mere reproduction of theoretical facts and production of pseudo jobs by the students. Schools should go into rental services by procuring and hiring out to the public items such as tents, canopies, plastic chairs, plastic tables, plates and spoons. The products from the home economics unit of the department of Vocational should also be placed on the shelf for the general public to buy. Also, services of the staff and students of such unit like Home Economics Education should be marketed as caterers and event managers, all in a concerted effort to generate revenue internally to promote Vocational Education. Furthermore, school halls could be rented out for public functions like, weddings, church activities, conduct and marking of external examinations and other social meetings. In addition to these, the school could embark on remedial educational programmes like extra mural classes, Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination preparatory classes, external and internal school certificate preparatory classes in an effort to improve their internally generate Parents-Teachers Association (PTA): Parents-Teachers Association is a body of parents and teachers of a school with the common goal of promoting development in the school. In line with this the Parents could raise funds internally among themselves, and could also seek external financial assistance from wealthy individuals, corporate organizations and NGOs to execute projects like provision of equipment, facilities and structures in the school to promote Vocational Education.
  2. Collaboration with Companies and Non-Governmental Organizations:

Most companies particularly the multi-nationals are sleeping-giants when it comes to funding of Education especially in those areas that will benefit the companies. It is therefore pertinent to wake up these sleeping giants through effective collaboration so as to make them alive to their social responsibilities, particularly in the provision of structures, equipment and facilities in schools. Such collaboration could be initiated by the school principals or the Parent-Teachers Associations. The result would be amazing if organizations like the Oil Companies, communication service providers, financial institutions, hospitality industry are contacted for this purpose.

  1. Sale of spaces on School walls, halls for display:

There could be provision of sale of spaces on school walls, halls for display. The school will have to be successful in its vocational education. Everybody wants to identify with success. Wealthy business men and women, Companies would crave to purchase a space to display their products thereby promoting funding of vocational education. Take for instance, Lagos Business School; there are limited spaces left on their walls. Every product label wants to display their brand on it for a huge sum of money.

Education stands out to be a driving tool towards National building and Sustainability.

Putting the above practices into consideration, no doubt Education in Nigeria will be funded properly. Do you know of other strategies to achieve this onerous task of financing education in Nigeria?

Let us know your ideas, together we will build, harness and achieve a better human progress and growth.

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Onwukeme Ijeoma  is a passionate Science Educator, Researcher, Academic Counselor and Consultant.

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