Recent increase in the school fees by government-owned schools and some private schools has taken a new toll on parents, resulting in the withdrawal of their children.
The parents who spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday.
They called on the government to take immediate action to mitigate the adverse effects of the petroleum subsidy removal on parents and school owners.
Mr Rotimi Lawrence, a civil servant, said he had to withdraw his child’s admission from a government school due to increase in tuition fees, a development he said was not envisaged at the initial stage.
Lawrence, who said he was pained to take such a decision, said parents are already struggling with the increased cost of living.
“It is heart-breaking to note that private schools are increasing school fees but we understand with them. Government schools which should be a succour to parents also increased theirs.
“We are aggravated with an already dire economic situation of the removal of petroleum subsidy and schools are compounding the problems by increasing fees which we can’t cope with.
“For me not to allow this problem to continue, I had to withdraw my daughter from school when I heard that government schools had increased fees to N100,000, this is apart from other payments for new students,” he said.
Mrs Folashade Abdulrahman, a nurse, appealed to school proprietors to be considerate in their approach to fee adjustment by taking into consideration the fact that salary of workers has not been reviewed upward.
Abdulrahman said that schools need to cover their costs, but pleaded for transparency and a fair balance between quality education and affordability.
A single mother, Lizzy Ogbu, appealed to the government to step in and address the issues of tution hike so that the less-privileged could also have opportunities to give their children quality education.
Ogbu said that though the actual school fees might be low, but additional cost of sending a child to school which school owners increased also increased is preventing parents from sending their children to good schools.
“We can’t bear the cost of sending our children to good schools. Most parents want quality education for their children but the fee hike is preventing this.
“I have to withdraw my child from the school because of the increase in school buses by 100 per cent.
“I know that I will not be able to sustain the payment of the school bus; hence I withdrew my child to a nearby school where he can trek to and from school, not minding the quality of teaching.
“I want the best education for my child, but it’s becoming increasingly unaffordable. These rising costs of textbooks and other costs are pushing us to our limits.
“We know that education is a fundamental right, but it is disheartening to see it becoming a luxury for many. We plead with those in authority to take this seriously,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Olusola Bankole, the immediate past Chairman, National Association of Proprietress of Private Schools (NAPPS), FCT Chapter, appealed to parents for calm as the present situation was a face that would pass soon.
Bankole advised parents to plan ahead and schedule their spendings in line with their earnings.
“The situation in Nigeria, especially as it relates to the economy affects all sectors as you know.
“Meanwhile, please pay attention to your children’s learning by ensuring that they get the best. Of course, commensurate with the fees paid.
“Also, kindly provide such leadership and growth mindset that makes your children turn out with positive values. Plan ahead and schedule your spending in tandem with earnings.
“We all have to adjust as all hands must be on the deck for a more prosperous society,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government had pledged to set up a formal negotiation team between the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and relevant stakeholders to look into hike in the fees.
It said the aim is to ensure that the development doesn’t decrease the quality of education.
The Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu, recently said that school fee hike could be a core factor in bringing about attacks on schools hence the need to look into this area to avert further attacks.
“So many areas that require finances are being attacked but we must also look at the constitutional provisions. The constitutional provisions expressly states that free education but with caveat ‘when government can afford’ and that is why it also comes as voluntary contributions by all stakeholders.
“So we are going to encourage formal negotiations, where we cannot provide PTA and relevant institutions so that we can agree to a term that is acceptable to all of us.
“Also, we will encourage a lot of partnerships as part of areas that can bring peace. Whether we agree or not, we must appreciate the role of PTAs in sustaining services in lots of our schools at both local and federal level.
“So, while we do that with scarce resources, at the ministry level, we try to see how we can block leakages and see how more funds can be available to schools to ensure that quality education is affordable, acceptable to every Nigerian without decreasing the quality of education,” he said at a recent forum.