In the spirit of democracy, capitalism, and reducing the cost of government
I believe a fully privatized educational system will be best, especially in a country like Nigeria in which the government is both poor and corrupt, and therefore incapable of funding or managing public schools effectively. Critics of privatization have pointed out that when government institutions are privatized, they end up being (1) controlled by the rich friends of the government and (2) unaffordable to the common man.Source:
If Nigerian public schools are all privatized, they could end up being controlled by people who have no interest in education and just happen to be rich, well connected, and willing to bribe. If all schools in Nigeria are private, we could end up with a country in which only rich can afford education. And that won't be ok because we all know what happens when the masses are not educated: you have a high crime rate, religious crises, etc.
However, our public schools are in a deplorable state. A few public schools are doing relatively well, but they are not really public schools anymore, because they charge all sorts of fees. We might as well privatize them too. We could try to convince the government to pump more tax-money into the worst public schools, but that would be like pouring more water into a basket. I believe the government should be more involved in setting educational standards, making sure WAEC, NECO, and JAMB exams are free of cheating, and properly marked, etc. (instead of running schools).
However, instead of simply selling public schools to the highest bidder, I believe every public school should be turned into a limited liability company, and 1 share of that company should be given (not sold) to every adult resident of the LGA the school resides in, and every current employee of the school.
The current principal of each school should be made the CEO, and the head teachers and current PTA officials made directors of each school. This will turn public schools into for-profit organizations that have a strong incentive to keep costs low, improve educational standards and find ways to make more money with the schools' land and resources. Public schools will no longer be an unproductive drain on our national resources.
This approach will put the schools in the hands of communities instead of just the governors' crony capitalist friends. The sense of ownership the community feels about the schools, as a result of their actual ownership, will encourage every individuals to help their schools in various ways, and to fight anyone that tries to damage the schools. If the officials the schools don't perform, they will be voted out in shareholder meetings.
Since the shares will be owned by both rich people and poor people in the community, the school is likely to pursue policies that make it possible for children of the poor to afford the privatized schools, such as academic scholarships and multiple tiers of service so rich students subsidize poor students. At the same time, they will avoid policies that can make the school go bankrupt (otherwise, the poor shareholders will get no dividends!)
There will be a healthy balance of empathy, social values, pragmatism, and capitalistic creativity and efficiency. It shouldn't be hard to try it out with a single public school to see how it turns out. We should start with schools that are currently in a very bad state, such as this one, and this one.
What do you think about school privatization in general, and this approach specifically? What are some of the challenges you envisage? Do you have any suggestions about how to improve this, or reasons why it may work or not work?