By Nkem Iloeje-Agu


It is the burning desire of every school owner to maintain a steady pattern of sustained population growth.

I order to achieve this, we often find ourselves running from pillar to post, attending every seminar, training or workshop which promises to deliver on the big dream of “increasing your school population”. Yet, more often than not, these promises fail woefully, and we remain where we are, marking time, having erratic dips and peaks in our population graph, or worse, maintaining a steady decline.

Why does it look like it is only a small handful of schools that have been able to conquer growth issues?

Why does it appear that our own school is doomed to struggle with population or growth issues?

The reason is simple. There is a Yoruba adage that says that “what you are looking for in Sokoto is in fact, inside your sokoto”.

In our race to attend school-growth seminars, we lose sight of the one and only thing that is capable of growing any organisation, as well as maintaining and sustaining that growth. That thing is the quality of the organisation’s products (your students).

If an organisation is consistent in churning out good quality products, its customer base will be consistent in its expansion.

For a school, good quality products are students who are fully capable of independently sitting through and excelling in any assessments, external or internal, and who are able to practically apply knowledge and skills to solve real life problems.

That is my definition of baseline product quality for any school.

They are certainly not students who, although they have “passed” exams, cannot defend that “success” anywhere else, other than in your school premises.

How does your school ensure consistent output of top quality products?

The only way it is possible to have a sustained output of good quality product, is the maintenance of a good quality workforce.

To maintain a good quality workforce, you must keep training and retraining.

If you do not send your teachers for trainings and seminars, or you have a culture of sending one or two, expecting them to come back and deliver the knowledge and skills to the rest, you do need to have a rethink. That is, if indeed you are keen to grow your school.

You might say, “oh, I am not one of those. I send them on endless trainings, yet, I see zero to little positive results”.

My response to this would be a question. When you set out to sow on a piece of land, and you find that land to have lots of stones, weed and brambles, what do you first do?”

Same applies to a quest to train members of your workforce. A professional approach to personnel training starts with a program of weeding and de-stoning, to do a mind-reset. Then, what you sow would yield bountiful harvests.

If the mindset is good to go, yet the results are not there, then you must look at so many other factors, one of which is a critical review of the quality of training you are providing.

School growth is not magic, and no outsider can do it for you. The problem lies within, and so does the solution.

Invest in capacity building. If you do it strategically, then when you check your bottomline, you will find that it actually cost you and your school next to nothing.

Remember that, irrespective of the size of your school, if even one customer leaves, as a result of being dissatisfied, you have a lot of work to do.


  1. Thanks for your good piece. What if ur pupils leave because of school fees? A situation where by children will owe up to 2 terms & if u send them home in the third term, you see the last of them. Or, the mother uses your school to collect extra fee from the father & yet will not pay or want him to pay to the school account, & if you refuse, the children are withdrawn? What’s the solution pls? Tnx.

    • Thank you, Sidi.

      Many schools in Nigeria have this same issue. However, some have long overcome it.
      The solution is to have your own school fee policy, and stick with it.

      Best wishes as you strive to do better.


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