By Kofoworola Belo-Osagie
Dominican College Abuja, a new secondary school by the Dominican Order of the Catholic Church is preparing to take-off in September 2021 with plans to enroll children from less-privileged backgrounds free of charge. The college is raising N250 million to make this possible and to complete construction of its state-of-the-art facilities before the start of the 2021/2022 academic session in three months’ time.
Director of the Dominican Vocation Support and project coordinator Rev. Fr. Stephen Ogbe said at a press briefing in Lagos that one of the aims of the school was to reduce the number of out-of- school children, especially in the north, where the Dominican Order had done a lot of evangelism over the years. The facility upon completion will provide a great succor for a number of out-of-school-children not only in Abuja, but also across the length and breadth of the country. The capital-intensive project has progressed steadily with the kind generosity of good spirited individuals and corporate bodies. “However, N250 million is still needed to get the school running fully,” he said.
The Director said though pupils whose parents can afford to pay would be expected to pay their fees, even application forms would be free for the less-privileged applicants. The forms will only be paid for by children whose parents are paying their bills. For the indigent children, we will pay for their forms. The only thing we need from the parents would be consent form – an undertaking that the children will abide by the rules and the children have to pass. He explained that the Order was making deliberate efforts to enroll more girls. “We want to give opportunity to the girl-child,” he said.
Given the spate of the insecurity in the country, the cleric said the Dominican Order would not compromise in providing adequate security for the full-boarding school located on 10 hectares of land in Yangoji, Abuja. “To allay the fears of parents, the school is investing in robust security architecture by collaborating with the Police and other renowned security agencies to provide adequate security for both staff and students of the college,” he said.
While the college seeks to raise funds from corporate bodies and public spirited individuals, Ogbe said it would be resourceful in the use of its land. For instance, he spoke of plans to build a bakery and run a farm so the school could produce its own bread and some of its food.
Chairman, Dominican College Fund Raising Committee, Mr. Oladele Olagbaju, urged people to give towards making the school, which will be inaugurated next month, a reality.
“This project is to regroup the process of training northern youths using the goodwill of the rich people. We have spent over N500 million on the project. The scholarship fund of N100 million has to grow. Food, security, books and uniform have to be provided,” he said.