08 Jun The Role of Affordable Private Schooling-DEEPEN’s International Conference
The DEEPEN programme organised the first ever international conference on low cost private schools with the title “The Role of Affordable Private Schooling in Developing Countries”. The conference which took place at the Intercontinental Hotel Lagos on the 22nd -23rd November 2016 was the first conference focusing on low cost private education and how this phenomenon has evolved to fill the gaps created by failures in the public system across developing countries in Asia and Africa.
Speakers were drawn from both private and public organisations across the world including multilateral and donor organisations. The conference was declared open by the Deputy Governor of Lagos State/Commissioner of Education; Dr. Idiat Adebule ably represented by Mr. AdesinaOdeyemi, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education. The Liberian Deputy Commissioner of Education, the Commissioners of Education in Anambra, Ekiti, Ogun and Oyo states were also in attendance.
Professor Patrick Utomi, a renowned professor of Economics and Management in Nigeria and National Patron of the Association for Formidable Education Development (AFED) and Dr. Joanna Harma, a UK scholar and researcher on low cost private schooling gave the key note addresses.They highlighted the critical role low cost private schools have come to play in the provision of education to many poor families and the need for a more proactive and enabling approach in working with them to ensure quality education delivery.
The conference had five main sessions with key speakers and presenters for each session. The sessions covered issues around government policies on private education, the systems and frameworks for regulating private schools, access to finance for school improvement initiatives, as well as the experiences of individual school owners and chain school operators in running low cost schools. Participants had opportunity to contribute to the discourse during the plenary sessions, sharing their experiences and ideas on the different thematic areas.
The conference highlighted the key role of government in ensuring an enabling environment for low cost schools to thrive if they are to help States deliver their mandate on education and reinforced the argument for continued development support to low cost private education. At the end of the 2-day conference, participants expressed appreciation for being invited to the conference and the opportunity it provided to learn and share with other stakeholders. The conference ended with a closing remark delivered by Alessandra Lustrati, the DFID Private Sector Adviser for DEEPEN.