Alhaji Amusa Mohammed Olawale is the president of the National Association of Proprietors of Private School, NAPPS Lagos Chapter. He is an educationist and the Proprietor of HOMAT Group of Schools, Igbogbo, Ikorodu. He is a businessman who has been touching the lives of children and adults. Alhaji Olawale also has a face in the real estate business and a few other businesses. However, he is popular for the role he is playing in the education sector with his HOMAT Schools.
Alhaji Amusa is a lover of education who believes that the easiest way to get a nation developing is by educating the young minds. A few days ago, he attended the Parents’, Teachers’ Conference organized by an NGO, De Kids n Parents and after the event, he had a chat with City People’s DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 where he talked about some burning issues affecting the society, how he runs NAPPS and his HOMAT group of schools. Below are excerpts from the interview, enjoy.
Let’s start from NAPPS. Tell us the intention of the Lagos chapter of this association.
NAPPS in general, is all about improving the standard of education in the private sector and in Lagos State, the association belongs to some professionals who are keen on giving a standardized education to Lagosians and at the same time are after contributing their quotas to the development of education in Lagos. Most of our members own government-approved schools and we try as much as possible to follow the operational guidelines for schools in Lagos.
As the president, how well have you been able to drive home the intention and the focus of the association in Lagos?
As I’ve said, there is an operational guideline for the running of private schools in Lagos and most times, we organize seminars to update our members on the guidelines. Not that alone we also have a quality assurance committee that goes around ensuring that schools adhere to all the guidelines that were given before approval.
There is this notion that private schools are super-expensive in Lagos. As NAPPS President, what do you have to say about it?
There are different associations in Lagos but ours cater to the needs of the low-income earners, medium-income earners as well as high-income earners too. By the special grace of grace, most of our school fees are affordable to the ordinary citizens of this state. Our school fees range from as low as 20,000 in the primary section and 40,000 in the secondary section which I think are still affordable.
And is that to say that the same standards are being maintained?
We have the same scheme of work and in as much as we have the quality assurance committee fully at work, they ensure that these schemes are being followed. Don’t forget that the pupils write the same exams and most of our students have not been found wanting. Though the so-called hybrid schools charge 500,000 and above, how many of their students have you heard that have won special awards across the country or how many of their students have emerged best in WAEC, NECO or even JAMB? In most cases, we monitor the progress of these children better than in most of these schools.
Looking at the topic that was treated at this seminar today, what are the roles of parents in reducing the social menace in our society today?
Thank you very much for this important question. It is the duty of parents to take care of children and help them become better in our society. Parents must show a good example to their children, we must create time for our children and know the type of friends they are moving with. Society is too corrupt to leave these children alone to themselves. And in this computer age that we are right now, hardly will you see them reading their books at home. They are always busy with their systems and the responsibility falls on us parents to make them read their books and not just them staying on the computer all the time. We should make them imbibe the reading culture by creating a reading timetable for them and make sure that they follow it up. Parents must also ensure that their children read the right books. There are so many books that corrupt children especially those with tender minds but we won’t know if we don’t monitor what they read. However, I must not fail to give kudos to parents in this southwest particularly for their investment in education. If other regions can copy this act, there will be a reduction in the crime rate.
Let’s talk about your own school, tell us more about the HOMAT Group of Schools and how do you run it?
Homat group of schools was established in 1995 and we are 25 years old already. It was established in other to satisfy the yearnings of some parents. We started with one school and by the special grace of God, we have extended to five schools in the Ikorodu environment and plans are still ongoing to add to the number. Very soon, we shall be opening another property so that we can spread over. The essence of extending our tentacles is just to ensure that the expenses on transportation for parents across the Ikorodu environment are being reduced. We envision that pupils will go to their schools without much stress and the burden of transportation. By the special grace of God, HOMAT will be 26 years by September right now, all our schools have been approved by the government, WAEC and NECO are being held there and we also have the computer-based test (CBT) facility. And even as I am talking to you now, they are writing a CBT Mock exam in the school.
You have spent 26 years in the education business. Why did you decide to set up schools despite having the capacity to do other things?
Well, I was brought up as a teacher and all the training I have reduced are education-based. I attended a teacher’s training college after my modern school in the 1980s and college of education in the 80s too. In the 90s, I had my first degree and in the 20s, I had my masters degree in education. So everything I had aspired to acquire is in the education line so, I love teaching. And why did I develop an interest in teaching? It was due to the fact that there was a shortage of teachers in the primary school I attended and because I was a class captain, I was among those they use to augment the shortage of teachers then. I and others were made to teach lower classes and that was how I developed an interest in teaching.
How easy has it been to run five different schools in this kind of economy?
Well, it has not been easy in Nigeria especially, we started with just six classrooms and with loans upon loans from microfinance and other commercial banks where interest rates are so exorbitant, this is where we are today and we thank God that we are still in business.
How did you survive the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown?
Apart from this school business, I have a guest house and an event centre and the little we were making from those other businesses like real estate which I also do well. We also have a very good relationship with some of our parents and they supplied us with foodstuff during this difficult time. We were also able to pay about 50 per cent of the salaries of teachers at that time and later we switched back to the full salary. We also gave out food items about four times before the end of the lockdown but we thank God today that normalcy has been restored.
Before we wrap it up, what should an ideal school look like because in Lagos that we are today, we just see different kinds of schools and we don’t know which is which…
Well, my advice to incoming proprietors and proprietress is that they should not focus on making money but rather see this as an opportunity to contribute their quota to education in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole. The sector we found ourselves in is where the government at all levels has neglected its responsibilities and the major responsibility they have is to train these leaders of tomorrow. Now you see why we have so many social menaces, many touts and a lot of irresponsible youths in our society. Everyone should see this business as a means of contributing to the development of education so that we can jointly train these leaders of tomorrow. We shouldn’t focus on what we are going to realize but rather use whatever we see as gain to develop our schools. We have guidelines as to how to run a school and one of them is having a conducive learning environment that can aid effective teaching and learning.
How Parents Can Help Their Kids To Read More – Alhaji OLAWALE AMUSA, NAPPS LAGOS Pres. was last modified: June 22nd, 2021 by
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