Former teachers and old boys of King’s College Lagos have lamented the negative effect of overpopulation on the quality of education service delivery in the 119-year old school.
They spoke at programmes to mark the 30th graduation anniversary of the 82-88 set held Friday and yesterday.
At a symposium with the Theme: “The King’s College Conundrum: Where do we go from here,” participants lamented that the same facilities that they used decades ago when class sets were 60 or 80, now supports class sets of 600.
Former Principal King’s College (PKC), Mr Sylvester Onoja who also served as Commissioner for Education in Kogi State, blamed the overpopulation on non-transparent and non-merit-based admissions policy that resulted in pupils being admitted through the back door.
He said he expelled over 400 pupils across all classes who could not produce their admissions letter while he was principal in one day to reduce the population which was then over 4,000.
“As Principal of King’s College, one of the things I did here that a lot of people will not forget the day at assembly I dismissed 470 students. When I came here I inherited a population of 4,114 students. I said if you are a student of this school bring your original admission letter from the Federal Ministry of Education – and 470 from JSS1-SS3 could not produce their letters.
“The character of some of us who have been principals of this school has contributed to the decline of this institution. Admission was monetized; parents were willing to pay; students were brought in through the door, and windows and through the roof. So if you want to be a teacher, you must be a man of character,” he said.
Presently, the population of the school is 3,600.
Onoja said King’s College should be exclusively for those who could meet its standard – like it was the case in the past, adding that back then, the maintenance of standard did not attract ethnic or religious colouration.
He said:”I believe strongly, that the only thing we need to do to give King’s College the prestige it deserves is to keep the numbers. I do not believe in the expansion of King’s College, I believe in its contraction. If we have 2,000, for God’s sake let’s go down to 1,200 or maximum of 1,000. King’s don’t come easy; if you are not qualified to be a king, you cannot be a king. It must be a matter of merit.
On his part, President of the King’s College Old Boys’ Association (KCOBA), Alhaji Kashim Imom, said the present population was unacceptable. He said the old boys would not accept admission of more than 400 pupils for the 2018/2019 academic session starting in September. The programme also featured the launch of three projects (a Braille Resource centre, a multipurpose sports court, and waste management system) in commemoration of the 82-88 set’s anniversary.
The three-day celebration which also featured a dinner at the Federal Palace Hotel on Saturday ends Sunday with a thanksgiving service at This Present House, Lekki, followed by a lunch.