By Diana Omueza
The Management of Knosk #100 A-Day School, a school for underprivileged out-of-school children in Kuje community is seeking partnerships to help support and keep its students in school.
Mr Kingsley Bangwell, the Founder of the school said this on Wednesday in Abuja, at the opening of a Two-Day Strategic Plan Meeting organised by the school.
The meeting which focused on leveraging low cost education in Nigeria was an attempt to draw the attention of partners, sponsors and donors to support the school projects.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the school provides school uniforms, books, lunch and sanitary pads for the girls with a daily fee of N100 per student.
Bangwell said that the school and its project were all primarily established and designed for children from the poorest households and it remained committed to ensuring that education was affordable for these children.
According to him, we are also contributing our own quota to nation building by ensuring that out-of-school children menace which portends a lot of challenge is reduced.
“If this children did not go to school today, in 10 years time they would be younger adults without skills, without livelihoods and because they must survive, they will put the rest of us at risk by engaging in illegal means of sustenance.
“So, we are doing what we can to support government because government alone can’t solve this problem, we are doing what we can as a private organisation to keep as many children as possible in school and that’s why we set up this school in Kuje.
“The students here get books, uniforms, lunch, sanitary pads for the girls and computer based education.
‘And, we have run this school primarily raising money on social media by asking people to adopt or sponsor a child in order to keep them in school,” he said.
Bangwell said that it cost N66,000 per term to keep a child in school and many well meaning Nigerians, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and even other private schools had been supporting the school.
“We have been on social media, on Instagram, on Facebook just telling the story of these kids by posting online.
“People visit our pages to see, some come physically to the school to verify someone from the UK had to send someone come check the school before he made a donation.
“So, we have donations from Nigerians, non-Nigerians, donations from Australia, Japan, U.S., and from people we don’t even know, they just watch our social pages, they check and they come to support us.
“And, It’s four years now that we’ve been running the school and while we thank support from NGOs like the Grant from MacArthur foundation, we also need more support for our teachers and primarily for the students,” he said.
He called for more sponsorship from individuals, the government and private organisations to keep the school running and keep the students in school.
Bangwell said that the vision of the school was to replicate it across Nigeria and in Africa by the year 2025.
Mrs Olusola Bankole, Member of the Board of Trustees of the School, said that she hoped the strategic meeting with educational stakeholders would attract the right sponsors, partners and donors.
“This event was set up to project the school and its activities to the public and to draw the attention of potential partners and donors.
“We want to be able to let others also know that there is such a school and that this is how far we have gone, these are the impacts we have made and this is what we intend to do in the next phase of our activities.
“Another major essence of this meeting is also to promote the impacts of what we are doing in education; you know one of the basic purposes of education in the Nigerian constitution is to give every child the right to quality education
“But we noticed that what some of these students are even getting is less than quality, what it means is that even the Nigerian government needs to work and the education ministries need to work to meet up with educational standards in the country,” she said.
She urged the government to look into the spate of out-of-school children and support schools such as Knosk who where providing solutions to the menace.
She stressed that quality education was expensive and that the welfare of the children in the school could not be left for the school management alone or a few partnering sponsors.
“We currently have the support of the MacArthur Foundation but nobody should miss the facts that education is expensive and quality education is even more expensive.
“The cost of what we give to the children is enormous but without supports we may not be able to continue doing what we are doing.
“Supports from well-meaning people and even support from other private schools who are aware that we are doing the right thing is what has kept the school running and we need more support to ensure that no child is left behind,” she said.
She said that there were various ways to support and keep the students in school, including monthly support, annual, quarterly and continuous.
Mr Patrick Otoro, an education stakeholder lauded the school for taking out-of-school children off the streets in Kuje community and providing them with education that was beyond basic.
Otoro commended the school for encouraging STEM education and advised the school management not to relent in seeking support from stakeholders and especially well-meaning Nigerians.
Mr Achede Joseph, a Deputy Director, Senior Secondary Education Department, a representative of the Federal Ministry of Education, also urged school owners to ensure that students get functional education.
Joseph said that functional education inclusive of skills and trades that could be translated into means of livelihood in the future was key to a brighter future for student.
“We, at the Federal Ministry of Education are no longer interested in just paper qualifications of graduates; we want children that will come out of school with skills.
“Education now goes beyond paper certification to acquisition of functional skills that could be translated into means of sustenance and livelihood.
“That is why we the federal ministry of education are empowering the federal colleges especially the federal technical schools.
“By properly equipping these schools so that our children will not just come out with just paper qualifications but will have tangible trades and skills,” he said.
Joseph said that the government had also mainstreamed into the educationally curriculum skills acquisition programmes because it realized that skills were the major drivers of the world’s development.
Joseph lauded the Knosk #100 A-Day school for empowering their students with valid skills that would make them graduate and go into businesses and entrepreneurship instead of looking for white collar jobs which were unavailable.
He commended the school for using its little resources to provide solution to the country’s spate of out-of-school children.
He said that the school needed to be recognized and commended on a public platform in order to draw the attention of more funders and sponsors and to also motivate other school owners to absorb out-of-school children.(NAN)
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