As primary and secondary schools in Nigeria open their doors for the first academic term after a lengthy (third term) break, parents and guardians across the country are groaning, with the weight of a harsh economy and increase in fees.
The resumption of schools came at a time Nigerians are battling with the harsh realities of an economy that seems to be out of control.
Fuel price has skyrocketed to a staggering N615 per litre, a stark contrast to the N197 per litre during the previous academic term.
This surge in fuel cost is a direct result of the federal government’s removal of fuel subsidy, a move that sent shockwaves throughout the nation.
The first term of the academic year is traditionally a period of transition for many students and pupils.
New classes mean new uniforms, textbooks, and additional expenses for parents who are already stretched thin.
However, what has compounded this situation further is the revelation that many schools within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and across the states have quietly increased their fees and logistics charges.
A prime example is a top secondary school located in Orozo, an outskirt of Abuja, which has announced a substantial fee hike from N2.8 million naira per term to a staggering N3.87 million.
Similarly, a popular secondary school in Jabi, Abuja, has raised fees for Junior students from N3.8 million naira to 4.5 million naira.
The news of this increment has left many parents frustrated and anxious about how they will cope with the financial strain.
Some parents have voiced their concerns, urging both the government and the school proprietors to reconsider their decisions.
They called upon the government to take immediate action to mitigate the adverse effects of the subsidy removal, which have aggravated an already dire economic situation.
The parents also urged school proprietors to be considerate in their approach to fee adjustments.
Sarah Thompson, a civil servant and resident of Karshi Abuja, lamented that it’s understood that schools need to cover their costs, but pleaded for transparency and a fair balance between quality education and affordability.
She said, “It’s heartbreaking to see the fees for our children’s education go up so drastically. We’re already struggling with the increased cost of living, and now this? It’s a heavy burden.
“Every year, it feels like we’re being squeezed even more. The rising prices of school materials and the sudden fee hike are making it incredibly challenging for us as parents.”
Another frustrated parent, Fatima Ahmed, a tailor, lamented thus, “I want the best education for my child, but it’s becoming increasingly unaffordable. These rising costs for textbooks and school fees are pushing us to our limits.
“The government needs to step in and address these issues. It’s not just about fees; it’s about the overall cost of sending our kids to school. We can’t bear this alone.”
A mother of triplets, Enuwa Ochefu, who is a petty trader told our reporter that, “As parents, we are left with no choice but to make sacrifices in other aspects of our lives to ensure our children can continue their education. It’s a tough situation.
Education is a fundamental right, and it’s disheartening to see it becoming a luxury for many. We hope that the authorities take notice of our struggle.”
Meanwhile, Miss Israel Kwer, the proprietor of Mt Moriah Group of Schools, Abuja, shared her perspective on the matter in an interview with DAILY POST on Sunday.
She revealed that her school had been facing difficulties paying its staff since the removal of fuel subsidy.
Despite the challenging circumstances, she stated that her institution had not increased its bus fees.
She said, “We want to be transparent about our fee adjustments. The rising market prices, like textbooks going from 2000 to 5000, have compelled us to make these changes.
“However, we’ve taken the extra step of not increasing our bus fees despite the fuel cost rising to N617 from last term’s N195 per litre. We kindly request their understanding and support as we navigate these challenging financial circumstances together.”
A parent in Enugu State, Chief Chris Eze, on his part, said it was high time both the government and the school proprietors exhibited sensitivity and responsiveness to the plight of parents.
He said, “Education is the cornerstone of a nation’s progress, and it’s essential that we work together to ensure it remains accessible and affordable, particularly during these challenging economic times.
“The worst part of it is that the government is living in denial; I recall when news filtered in that school fees for unity schools had been increased to N100,000.
“The Federal Government quickly issued a circular telling the members of the public to discountenance the news.
But as we speak, they are paying no less than N130,000; this is excluding hostel requirements.
“It is difficult for parents to cope with this kind of situation; we had expected that the government would consider the plight of parents but that has not happened,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, it was observed that some parents are withdrawing their wards from private schools owing to their inability to pay the adjusted fees.