- Parents, guardians groan over economic hardship, high cost of school fees
- Many withdraw their children, wards from private to public schools over hike in school fees
- They appeal to governments at all levels to find a way of ameliorating the harsh situation
As primary and secondary schools across the Federation resume for the 2023/2024 session on September 18, 2023, parents and guardians in Enugu state have continued to lament over the meteoritical rise in school fees and other fees payable in schools.
The fees hike is coming at a time when the country is battling with harsh economic situation precipitated mainly by the fuel subsidy removal.
From pump price of N195/litre which was seen in the last academic year to N615/litre, the citizenry and indeed parents are still struggling to survive the shockwave of the fuel price hike.
The subsidy removal has had spill over effect on the economy as prices of many goods and services have gone out of hand.
Our reporter gathered that while many parents and guardians lament the high cost of school materials like textbooks, exercise books, school uniforms, bags and other materials, there is also excruciating cost of transportation.
WITHIN NIGERIA checks revealed that while there is no significant increase in fees at public schools, that of private schools are very much skyrocketing.
Our investigation also revealed that many parents and guardians are currently withdrawing their parents and wards from private to public schools due to increase in school fees and education materials.
In any case, some of the parents interviewed by our reporter revealed that both government and private school jacked up their school fees for the coming session.
The parents in a separate chat with our reporter lamented that the economic situation in the country had led to an increase in school fees, uniforms, books and other educational items which according to them is impacting negatively and harshly on the level of preparation for their children’s resumption.
One of the parents, James Okechukwu told WITHIN NIGERIA that he has lost hope of sending his daughter to Federal Government Girls College Lejja, Nsukka Enugu state.
According to Mr. Okechukwu,” last year, when I heard that their school was N45,000, I developed interest in sending my daughter to the school.”
Explaining further, Okechukwu, a commercial farmer stated that ” but when I went to the school for prospectus after my daughter passed their entrance examination, I was shocked to see that the school fees is now N100,000 per term.
“I have told my wife that we should shelve the idea of my daughter going to Unity school Lejja since we can longer afford it.”
Recall that on July 20, the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) increased the school fees of new students into Federal Government Colleges also known as Federal Unity Colleges to ₦100,000.
This directive came in a communique from the Office of the Director of Senior Secondary Education Department of the Federal Ministry of Education.
WITHIN NIGERIA gathered that the circular which was signed by the Director of Senior Secondary Education, Hajia Binta Abdulkadir, and has it’s reference number as ADF/120/DSSE/I was dated 25th May, 2023 and addressed to all Principals of Federal Unity Colleges across the country.
The circular partly reads, “Approved fees/ charges for Federal Unity Colleges (1st Term) for new students, new students are expected to part with ₦100,000 instead of the previous N45,000.
“The latest fees/charge increment will affect virtually all aspects and activities of the school, including tuition and boarding fees, uniform, text books, deposit, exercise books, prospectus, caution fee, ID card, stationery, clubs and societies, sports, extra lesson, insurance, et al.
“Please be informed that the ministry has approved only the under listed fees and charges for all Unity Colleges.”
Parents under the aegis of Nigerian Parents Forum had in June 2023, appealed to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to prevail on the Federal Ministry of Education to reverse the over 100% increment on fees paid by Students in Federal Government Colleges or Unity schools,
The group described the increment as arbitrary, insensitive, ill-timed and inconsistent with President Tinubu’s promise of welfare programmes to help Nigerian parents cope with the economic challenges posed by fuel subsidy removal in the country.
Similarly, the House of Representatives had earlier in July directed the Federal Ministry of Education to review the new school fees regime in Federal Government Colleges and revert to the old regime.
Despite all these appeals, the Federal government seemed not to be yielding to their demands as the new fees still stand.
Another parent, Chief Johnson Eze told our reporter that he was also surprised by the high cost of textbooks and other reading materials in the market.
“This year, my second daughter was admitted into Saint Catherine Comprehensive College, Nsukka. It is a Missionary School owned by Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Enugu state.
“When I went for their prospectus, my brother, I was very shocked. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Their school fees has been increased from N20,000 to N25,000 per term. The boarding fees was also increased from N20,000 to N27,000 per term.”
Narrating further, Chief Eze explained that “we are not talking about cost of textbooks. In fact, as I speak with you, I have spent nearly N250,000 to send my daughter to St. Catherine Comprehensive Secondary School, Nsukka.
“When I went to buy textbooks, those I used to buy at N1500 last year are now N2500 this year. It is very terrible and the situation is not palatable at all.”
Another parent, Mrs Janeth Okoye a public primary school teacher also lamented that the situation is getting out of hand.
According to her, the situation had driven her to take a loan to buy textbooks and pay the school fees, in order to meet up with the resumption date.
“The school has increased their fees, and to buy textbooks these days is something else. The ones I bought for N2000 last year are now N3000.
“It has not been easy. The ones I can afford, I’ll buy for them and if I can’t, they will manage the ones they have.
“Changing school now would not be easy, because that would attract more school fees and you don’t know the kind of school you are going to put them in.
“I have four children and all of them are currently in secondary school.” she said.
Mrs. Caroline Ani, another parent, said she had to forfeit traveling to the village for the yearly August meeting, to save money to pay for school fees, and change her daughters’ uniform, bags, and books.
“I have three children in school and the fees of that school are so high that when I collected their pay slip, I noticed an increase of more than N10,000.”
Appealing to the government, Mrs. Ani stated that ” we are appealing to the government at all levels to see what they can do to ameliorate this harsh economic situation. We are suffering too much in this country. We cannot continue to die on silence like this.”