By Grace Edema

There was outrage on Wednesday over the N42m per annum fees charged by Charterhouse, a newly established school in Lekki, Lagos.

Charterhouse, a British independent educational institution, will open its first African school in Ogombo, Lekki, Lagos, in September.

According to its website, the Charterhouse Family of Schools is a name that has been at the forefront of British education for more than 400 years.

Recently, the school, which will be starting with its first set of students (year one to year six) in September 2024, got 70 hectares of land in the Lekki to build the first African version of Charterhouse UK in Nigeria.

The school, on its website, explained, “Our pioneering campus has been designed to support a learning experience at the highest international standard.

“At Charterhouse Lagos, we are rethinking education for the 21st Century. We are driven by enlightened ideas and evidence-based methods of effective learning. We believe in empowering skilled teachers to create a dynamic, respectful and tolerant environment where children are inspired to achieve.”

But in a viral post by one Sisi_Yemmie on X, she analysed that the admission fee was N2m while the fee was N42m but to be discounted to N31.5m for founding pupils.

However, a media consultant to Charterhouse, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak on behalf of the school confirmed that the fee was indeed N42m per annum, saying the fee had been institutionalised over 400 years.

He maintained that the establishment of Charterhouse in Lagos would boost educational tourism as parents in other African countries would bring their children to Charterhouse Lagos instead of travelling long distances to the UK.

“Charterhouse UK charges similar money and this is an affiliate in Lagos the first Charterhouse in Africa, located in Lagos and they are building the same structure in the UK. So, they have to charge the same thing they charged in the UK. There is also a demography that goes to that school, more Nigerians are going there so they felt why not bring it to Nigeria for other African elites so that people can send their children from South Africa, Ghana, and others. They don’t need to travel a long journey to the UK for eight hours. They replicated what they charge over there and it is even cheaper in Nigeria. They are even charging in naira. That is going to have a huge effect on forex.

“The fee has been institutionalised for over 400 years and has produced five prime ministers, and top politicians in the UK. The Father of George Washington went to Charterhouse and that is the kind of legacy they are bringing to Nigeria.

“For them not taking it to Abuja shows that it is not targeted at politicians. Most of the children I know who went there are not politicians’ children.”

He emphasised that the school already had more than half of its staff as Nigerians.

However, some netizens on X lamented the high fees.

@Sisi_yemmie, said, “I don’t know what impression I gave that someone would think I should take my child to a N42m per annum school. Maybe that is the reason my helper never helped me.”

Another netizen, @Sire_sammie, said, “I have always told parents that the quality of education your child is getting is directly proportional to the salary of the lowest-paid teacher in that school. If you are paying N42m/annum and the salary of the lowest paid teacher is N50k/month, that is the quality of education your child will get.”

@SegunAK01, added, “How many people would come to earn naira from the best universities? I would rather keep that money and send my child to quality tertiary school with my savings and establish him later.”

@Ibidunnn, said, “This is a disgrace to the government and Nigeria. So the UK has to build a standard school that you can’t build for yourself and they will be teaching kids Queens English, nothing local, while other African countries are flushing out colonial mentality, una dey embrace am full time.”

@hothey007, said, “The kind of efforts elite put into ensuring their children don’t socialise or communicate with the masses is enormous.’’

“This is rubbish, all these foreign schools are overhyped if our local schools are allocated the adequate resources needed they will perform very well. If not for corruption why will Nigerians look for foreign education?” posted, @Chidozi92533513

@Drizzy_nwaa also maintained that “Other African countries are cutting ties with their colonial masters who drained their country. But Nigeria who is supposed to be chasing the British away from our shores is embracing them and wants them to come teach our citizens Queen English.”

@adesina_abari emphasised that “Instead of this una Charterhouse, why are you guys not promoting Kings College, Queen College and all the unity schools”

@emma18313807, analysed that “All of you here are stupid, Nigeria is not a country and we must divide, you allow a foreign school into your country to come to train elite children? Who is an elite in Nigeria? Were we not all conquered by the British? How have you become an elite? What about our skin?”

On the contrary, the President of the Parent-Teacher Association of Nigeria, Haruna Danjuma, explained that parents were at liberty to take their children to any school of their choice.

He, however, argued that the wealthy Nigerians taking their children to such expensive schools should invest in public schools.

“Private schools are established for commercial purposes. It is left to parents who can afford it to take their children there. Instead of paying that much, the wealthy can come together and equip our public schools. For parents to be complaining over social media is not reasonable. In as much as we want Nigerians to patronise the government schools, if there are parents who can afford it, they can go there. There is nothing wrong about it,” said Danjuma.

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