This workshop jointly organized by Education International (EI), the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and FES Nigeria, focused on discussions associated with growing privatization of education in Lagos and other places in Nigeria. The workshop forms part of EI’s campaign ‘Global Response to the commercialization and privatization of education’ that responds to private involvement in the provision of education through low-cost private schools.
In Nigeria and beyond, the number of children enrolled in private schools is increasing. In Lagos, 18,000 private schools are currently operating – reflecting a 50 per cent increase since 2011. Research carried out by EI and NUT points out that the increasing commercialization of education in Lagos impacts on overall quality, while at the same time charging poor children for education. Furthermore, low-cost private schools do not primarily benefit the most marginalized sections in society, but the lower middle classes. Due to those reasons, as well as the adverse working conditions faced by the teachers at low-cost private schools, the research concludes that private education is not an alternative to public education in Lagos. In order to counter the trend of privatization of education, increased investment in public education, as well as a termination of development assistance to private schools, is recommended.
At the workshop, after a welcome address by the NUT National President as well as opening remarks by EI, FES Nigeria, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and a representative from the Ministry of Education formally opened the workshop. Afterwards, the Global Response Project in Nigeria and the research report by EI and NUT on privatization of education in Lagos were introduced. These presentations were followed by a panel discussion on the privatization of education and the obligations of states to guarantee the right to education. The participants had the opportunity to share ideas and experiences and interact with the panelists, contributing towards the development of an action plan for a nation-wide campaign on the impact of privatization of education and the need for adequate investment in quality education for all.