By Ugochi Okoro
Parents are saddled with expenses every September due to school resumption, but this time in Nigeria, tales of lamentation feel the lips of many as fees have hit the roof due to high cost of things caused by the recent removal of subsidies on petrol.
Many parents have lamented bitterly over the unprecedent hike in school fees, making some to decide changing schools for their wards to less expensive ones.
In a chat with Prime Business Africa, Mrs Chinwike Jane, a lecturer in Science Education Mathematics Department, University of Nigeria Nsukka lamented that she will be paying N70,000 instead of N50,000 for her son who is entering SS1 because of the school fee increment.
“It is not easy, especially those of us that are civil servant because they are not adding anything to our salary unlike people in the market that can easily increase prices of their products and services to make more profit.”
Mrs Jane said she do not find it funny but has no option as the children must go to school, adding that she doesn’t blame school owners because the removal of fuel subsidy affected everything.
The university don called on the government to come to the aid of parents, especially civil servants and increase their salary so they can meet up with their financial challenges.
Also speaking to Prime Business Africa, Mrs Miracle Ezegwu, a mother of three and a fashion designer said she got a notice from her son’s school which is a boarding school, that they have increased their school fee from N65,000 to N90,500. Mrs Ezegwu said she does not have any other alternative other than to withdraw her son from the school and find a cheaper one that can still give the best in terms of education. “I am not ready to have high blood pressure because of increment in school fees,” Mrs Ezegwu stated.
A school proprietor in Nsukka, Mrs. Priscilla Ngozi Onward said their increase of school fees was due to rising cost of things across the country.
“We increased school fees in the second term of the 2022/2023 academic session from N11,350 to N17,000 because of the high price of things so that we can increase teachers’ salaries.
“The fuel subsidy removal has caused a very terrible hardship to the people, but we will not increase school fees again,” Mrs Onward stated.
She called on the government to do the needful in handing out palliatives earlier promised when the petrol subsidy was removed to mitigate the present sufferings of people.
“Government should be realistic and a bit sincere in making palliative available for the masses. As the saying goes: where two elephants are fighting, the grasses suffer. Every of the hardship in the country is suffered mostly by parents who must provide at least the basic necessities for the children which education is one of those basic needs.”
The removal of subsidies led to sudden hike in price of petrol which has affected the costs of things across the country such as energy, transportation, food items and other goods and services impacted the increase. This has equally contributed to rising inflation in the country. Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently revealed that the headline inflation rate rose to 24.08 per cent from that of June 2023 which was 22.79 per cent.
A trader Mr. Chilaka Amadi observed that apart from increase in school fees so many things pertaining school expenses have also increased like textbooks, school bus fee, etc. According to him the school bus was before now N40,000, but has increased to N60,000, likewise textbooks but he is making every effort to give his children the best education no matter the increase in school fees.
Mr. Chidi Egbo a shuttle driver in Nsukka said he is planning to change school for his children school because of the hike in school fees. He lamented that people no longer patronise shuttle service as they used to do before, especially within campus, making the drivers to spend the same amount of fuel used in carrying full load in carrying half load on their routes. “We don’t make much gain again as driver before now.”