Lekki is one of the most elitist part of Lagos State, where prices of everything – food, transportation, real estate to school fees, are high significantly compare to other areas.
However, Mrs Royeke Obalade, proprietor of Grande Oakbridge Montessori School, located in Argungi, Lekki, Lagos State is determined to keep her fees affordable.
Sharing her story during the school’s 10th anniversary, Mrs Obalade, who charges between N100,000 and N130,000, said the school was borne out of her desire to deliver quality at a cheap price in a high brow area of Lagos.
She said she was forced to charge up to that because of the high cost of running a school. However, despite the financial challenges, the proprietor promised to keep to her vision to charge affordable fees.
She said: “I feel great, elated and happy. Ten years is a milestone. I am grateful to God for sparing our lives and for making my vision to come true. Before I started this school, I used to think there was a lot of money in it and I used to say that private schools are charging very high fees and I would not charge like that, which I followed through. We were charging as low as N45,000 per term when we started. But I found out that it did not work, especially with our environment being Lekki. We would, however, strive to maintain that standard no matter what it takes. The school’s tuition is now between N100,000 and N130,000.”
She revealed her plans to sell her house to raise half of the money needed to complete the school’s permanent site, which is worth about N200 million.
The proprietor said she had almost given up her dream of running a school when she ventured into importation business, which was thriving, until she was reminded of her dream by “the Lord” to embrace her teaching profession and establish a school.
“In order to adequately prepare and fortify myself towards this divine assignment, I proceeded to University of Lagos, where I studied for a degree in educational administration, after which I went further to obtain a masters’ degree in the same. I later proceeded to obtain a diploma certificate in a much needed Montessori Education at Heritage Montessori Centre in Jibowu. I actually failed the first examination, but I went back to do it the second time and I passed,” she said.
After 10 years of preparation, the school was officially inaugurated in September, 2005, with the vision to provide a platform where children would imbibe a culture of academic distinction, stand tall and make positive mark on everyone they come in contact with.
Sharing his experience, first Parents/Teachers Association (PTA) Chairman and one of the first two parents of the school, Mr Uche Iheakanwa, said he placed his five children in the school based on his faith in the proprietor and the standard facilities he saw at work in the Montessori school.
He said: “As a concerned parent, who has always been price and quality sensitive, we moved from Victoria Island to a home in the Lekki axis. I immediately took time off work and visited a great number of the schools springing up in this Lekki Peninsula, noting such things as teaching materials, capacity and knowledge of the academic staff, number of pupils per teacher, sanitation and environmental conditions, certifications and compliance with State Ministry of Education and regulatory requirement and of course, the fees. “Having circled the wheel, I quickly concluded that Grange Oakbridge Montessori is fully prepared to give our children the needed solid foundation to help them face and overcome the challenges of the future… at one point, we had five children here.”
Iheakanwa said he looked past major challenges of bad road conditions, transportation, distance, security, high cost of living, among others to keep up with his office as PTA Chairman and sustain his children’s education in the school.
Source: The Nation Nigeria