Anita Ithniel Musa, an 8-year-old girl whose education was nearly derailed by financial struggles, has found a new beginning at Kingston Nursery and Primary School. This institution, founded by Victor Basola in Akute, Ogun State, is making waves by offering completely free education, a rarity in a country grappling with a crisis of 10.5 million out-of-school children.
Anita, daughter of Ithiel Musa, a local trader, faced a bleak future as her mother struggled to afford school fees. Despite her talent in mathematics, Anita’s reading and letter recognition skills were underdeveloped. “For a long time, she couldn’t go to school because of my work,” Ithiel said. “But when we learned about Kingston School, we saw a glimmer of hope.” Anita’s successful entrance exam marked a turning point, allowing her to resume education in September 2023.
“I’m so grateful to the school’s director,” Ithiel expressed. “Anita has grown so much in just four months. She’s not only improving academically but also spiritually.”
Similarly, Loveth Azani, a hairstylist and mother of two, shared her relief when her son, Felix, was admitted. “This school has been a blessing. My son has changed a lot,” Loveth said.
These stories are just two among the 60 pupils benefiting from Kingston’s unique educational model, which also includes free lunches.
Victor Basola, the school’s visionary director, has been a vocal advocate for free education since the school’s opening in 2021. At a recent global press conference, Basola highlighted the transformative power of free education. “If Nigeria adopted a free education model, we could drastically reduce our out-of-school children,” he stated. However, he lamented the lack of political will to make this a reality.
Basola believes in the right to education for every child, regardless of their circumstances. “Education is a legacy we must pass on to empower our society positively,” he said, citing educationist Babs Fafunwa and civil rights activist Malcolm X to underscore his point.
Kingston School, while offering free education, faces its own set of challenges. From paying staff salaries to providing textbooks and meals, the school relies on partnerships and donations. Basola shared his personal journey, starting from humble beginnings to establishing this ambitious project. “We started with a vision, albeit with limited resources,” he revealed.
The school not only educates but also nourishes its students, providing a meal per day to ensure they can concentrate on learning. “Some of our students come even on public holidays, knowing they will receive a meal here,” Basola added.
With an outstanding commitment to quality, Kingston School pays its teachers competitive salaries, ensuring a high standard of education. “We believe in investing in our teachers as they shape the future of our children,” Basola emphasised.
However, the school’s path is not without hurdles. Challenges such as meeting rental costs, buying textbooks, and ensuring a steady supply of meals and power are constant. Basola’s call to action is clear: “Our operating cost per term is over N6 million and totals N18 million annually, the school’s director said. “We need support to continue making education accessible to all.”
In closing, Basola reiterated, “Education should be a right, not a privilege. With everyone’s support, we can make this dream a reality for every Nigerian child.”