An education sector- based workshop, Private Education Finance Summit, has endorsed a multi- billion dollar funding project by the federal government.
At the end of it two- day gathering at the Excellence Hotel, Lagos between November 28 and 29, the participants issued what is now called the Lagos Declaration.
The declaration outlined the background and reasons why stakeholders endorsed the Private Education Best Practices Initiative (PEBPI) of which the global multi-billion dollar Private Education Trust Fund (PETFUND) is a component.
The declaration holds that instead of raising transformational change agents, the education sector is breeding licensed assassins as a result of weak adherence to best practices. This manifests in collapse of moral infrastructure; and deficit of ethics and integrity in admission, training, assessment, certification, registration and regulation processes. It is symbolized by an epidemic of examination malpractices and academic dishonesty.
It is the considered view of the summit as expressed through the declaration that the disastrous consequences of professionals weaned on diets of malpractices and dishonesty in education are matters of life and death: loss of lives, businesses, and property due to fatal errors by certificated but incompetent medical, engineering, aviation, judicial, corporate professionals as well as incompetent but certificated bureaucrats, teachers, principals and lecturers.
The declaration holds that the private education sub-sector is subjected to serious financial stress because it depends solely on short-term, high-interest loans to fund development and operational expenses with no government support by way of fiscal policy incentives or access to special interventions. The resultant high cost of funding and associated financial stress induce weak adherence to best practices doctrines.
The summit therefore declared its support for the PEBPI which has five district components: the private education trust fund (PETFUND) to help private schools access long-term, low-interest soft loan; a well organized and well managed, transparent institutional framework to help private schools access aids and grants; capacity building to enhance leadership and management best practices skills of proprietors and their principal officers; enhanced political lobby network; and best practices honours programme to recognize outstanding schools and inspire others to action.
The Lagos declaration was signed by a diverse range of stakeholders who participated in the summit including the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS); Private Universities and Polytechnics; Capital Market Operators; Law Firms; and e-Learning and Technology companies. The declaration and its signatories is attached.