The founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) Aare Afe Babalola has warned school owners against investing in education to make profit.
Even if they do make profit, Babalola said it should be invested into making the school even better.
The renowned lawyer spoke yesterday while addressing school owners at the 12th International Conference of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) hosted by his university.
Babalola said his experience in running ABUAD had taught him that education was a social service.
In his speech titled: “Towards an Effective and Efficient Quality and Functional Education in Nigeria in the 21th Century”, Babalola said: “From the beginning, the purpose of education was impartation of knowledge and acquisition of quality education. It was not for profit-making as it is known and practiced in some quarters today.
“I have said it in many fora that education is an expensive and non-rewarding enterprise designed to develop one’s community and raise future leaders and indeed, a new generation of leaders and leave the society better than we met it. For the sake of emphasis, it is not a profit-making venture. My experience these nine years of running ABUAD permits me the latitude to advise those who think they can make money by running a university to look into some other directions as they are not likely to make money by running a university.
“In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, no one should think of breaking even in the first few years after the commencement of an educational institution, but if the standard is high, people will definitely patronise you and perhaps you may make some money, which of course must be ploughed back into the school for better and greater efficiency.”
Babalola advised the school owners to make the proper investments in transforming their schools into quality learning spaces.
Giving the attributes of good schools, he said they should possess adequate physical learning areas equipped with well-stocked libraries, laboratories, ICT, and other modern facilities; and staffed by qualified and experienced teachers.
He advised proprietors to collaborate in owning schools rather than bearing the cost alone. He also called for government funding of private education through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
“Your goal should be to establish top-rate primary and secondary schools and not mere local ones. I appeal to the different levels of government to accord due recognition to quality private schools by supporting them financially,” he said.