Knowledge Sharing at Incubator Africa Conference
DEEPEN recently presented on the market potential of the private education sector at a school improvement conference featuring the Vice Presidential aspirant and candidate for Lagos governor. The conference, tagged ‘Partnership for 21st Century Skills and School Reform’, was a key opportunity for the programme to sensitise both market and political players to the realities of low-cost private education in Lagos.
Speaking on behalf of DEEPEN, the Deputy Team Leader, Stephen Bayley, shared statistics showing that private schools were a major player on the Lagos education scene, currently serving all levels of household income and enrolling more children than public schools.
He also revealed results of recent studies which sought to uncover how private schools operate as businesses, how they use external improvement services and how information about private education is disseminated. Some key findings which interested participants were:
- An estimated 38% of private schools have no bank accounts and as such have high cash transaction levels
- The sector generates almost $800million income per year; a third of which is not captured by the financial sector
- About $160 million of the sector’s $450 million expenses are also uncaptured by financial service providers
- Private schools employ over 118,000 teachers, a number higher than the entire workforce of the Lagos State government
- There is a low coverage of education issues, particularly in the broadcast media; and poor quality, where it exists
The highlight of the conference was an impromptu panel discussion – arising from the DEEPEN presentation – comprising representatives of low-cost, mid-cost, high-cost and public schools. During this instructive session, low-cost schools shared their experiences with high-cost schools whose representatives left the conference with not only a better understanding of the challenges of low-cost schools, but also a resolve to provide mentoring, teacher training, technology and advocacy support for them.
The 2-day conference was organised by Incubator Africa Development Team – an education partnership of the private and public sector which aims to improve and transform schools and education systems. The conference had in attendance, the Vice-Presidential candidate of Nigeria’s main opposition party, as well as the Lagos state governorship aspirant of the leading political party.