Centre for 21st century Issues (C21st) in partnership with Coalition of Private School Associations held a one day Teachers training on School development plan on Saturday, 22nd of April, 2017 for educators of low fee private schools in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos state. The objective of the training was to build the capacity of educators on how to prepare school development plans that will ensure improvement in quality outcomes of their students
Low fee schools are categorized as schools with tuition that is less than twenty five thousand naira per annum and accounts for about 70% of basic education in Lagos State. This training became imperative following findings from a series of forums convened in Ojo and Alimosho Local government Area which revealed that most of the educators do not know and have a school development plan.
The training is part of the project “Community Engagement in Low Fee Private Schools” being undertaken by C21st on behalf of Developing effective Education Nigeria (DEEPEN). It is a project that mobilizes education stakeholders such as parents, proprietors, teachers, community groups and associations in quarterly community forums to address quality outcomes in Low cost fee schools in Lagos state.
During the training , Mr. Adeyemi, an expert in school improvement service defines School Development Plan as a blueprint or master plan for improving schools and is centred on realistic analysis of the current situation of the school.
He further enunciated the significance of low fee private schools in filling the gaps created in basic education due to inadequate number of public schools to cater for the ever growing population of school age children in Lagos . The schools according to him help meet the needs of high population of children seeking basic education in Lagos State. Mr. Adebayo explained that SDP identifies and prioritizes key area for school improvement.
He also mentioned the importance of School Self Evaluation (SSE) in any development plan. The SSE is to identify needs in the school and find immediate and possible solutions to them. The needs may range from improved school finance, professional training for teachers and Head teachers, better accountability to stakeholders, better parent participation in school activitiesand provision of necessary school facilities etc.This will enable the school management place in order of priority the problem they want to solve first instead of trying to solve all the problems at thesame time which may not be realistic. He pointed that SSE is not for proprietors alone or few people but for anybody who brings his or her child to school.
The facilitator cited teachers, pupils, proprietors, community members and religious leaders as relevant stakeholders who must be involved in School Self Evaluation. They have responsibilities to lead and make decisions in some activities in the SDP, and although the PTA executives may not have sufficient understanding in doing SDP, the proprietor has the responsibility to provide them with adequate information on what to do. There is need to constantly report SDP so as to ensure accountability and confidence building. Trainees were additionally taught how to keep standard school record and save cost by collecting locally available resources as teaching aids for learning.
Participants were also enlightened on Peer-to-Peer Constant learning which is when teachers meet regularly at about two weeks interval to cross-fertilize ideas and exchange views on how to improve and at the same time learn from one another.
The capacity building workshop was very practical and interactive as participants worked in groups with free handouts that include action plan template for cost determination to solve problems. They demonstrated real life occurrences which they are expected to replicate in their schools. It is anticipated that the training will help improve learning outcome in low fee private schools.