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    Parents Threaten to Withdraw Kids From Private Schools Over Hike in School Fees

    Many parents are worried about the frequent hike in fees demanded by private schools in Nigeria.

    Some of them who spoke with WOTHAPPEN are already contemplating withdrawing their kids and taking the public school option.

    “This is pure exploitation and extortion,” said one of the parents who spoke with Legit.ng.

    Primary and Secondary schools across Nigeria resumed for the first term of the 2022/2023 academic session on Monday, January 9, 2022. The children were certainly happy to be back at school to meet with their friends and favourite teachers after a month-long holiday, but the parents are however saddened by the increments in school fees and other levies.

    According to WOTHAPPEN’s investigation, some parents are already considering withdrawing their kids and wards from private schools and having them register in public schools where they do not have to pay outrageous school fees.

    Many have touted private primary and secondary schools as the saviour of the declining education system in Nigeria. With the proliferation of private schools, public schools are now decongested and better quality of education is being provided.

    Parents Threaten to Withdraw Kids From Private Schools Over Hike in School Fees
    Woman crying; photo credit- News360; Teacher and children; photo credit – GemPeculiar School
    Source: UGC

    However, the frequent increases in school fees and other levies have raised concerns amongst parents and guardians who sometimes have to pay through their noses. For some, school fees take a better part of the family’s earnings and income.

    Findings by WOTHAPPEN have revealed that some schools have increased their fees by as much as 25%. The increases are reflected in specific school fees, school bus rides, feeding, cost of uniforms, sportswear, development levies, books and other reading materials, etc.

    “The schools are extorting us” – Parents lament increased school fees

    Many parents who spoke with Legit.ng claim that the schools make the increases every term and in some cases, new levies are introduced without formally informing the parents and guardians via the Parents-Teachers Associations (PTA).

    Tobi Akinloye who has a child in one of the private schools in Ikeja said that when he received the notification from the school last month, he noticed there was about an 18% increase in the fees. He said:

    The school fee for my 7-year-old daughter who is in primary 2 is now N255,000 a term from what was only N215,000 last term. I think this is quite outrageous, given the present economic condition in the country. These school proprietors need to take it easy on us.

    Uzo Obiwulu who has a child in Optimum High in Ikorodu, Lagos, lamented the increase of fees in the new session, calling it exploitation and extortion on the part of the schools. He said:

    This is pure exploitation and extortion. I would understand an increase of 5% but definitely not an increase of about 20%. Is it that they don’t understand that people are suffering in this country? For the fact that we even try to meet up with the payment of these fees, doesn’t mean that we are not going through hardship in the country.

    Another parent who spoke on the matter told Legit.ng that even when parents volunteer to buy some of the items like uniforms and books in the market, the schools insist they must be bought directly from them. She said:

    Some of the books on the school’s list are the same as the ones my older son used when he was in that particular class. But the school still insists I buy a new one for my younger son. How does that make sense if it is not exploitation?

    Following the unfortunate trend, some of the parents who spoke with WOTHAPPEN say they are contemplating registering their kids and wards in public schools since the rise in school fees has become unbearable.

    Mrs Folake Adeyanju who resides in the Surulere area of Lagos said that it was becoming more difficult for her husband to maintain three kids in a private school.

    I’m a simple housewife while my husband is a clearing and forwarding agent. We have 3 kids in private primary and secondary schools. Every term, we have to pay a combined sum of about N500k for school fees for the children. I’m not sure how long we can keep up with this because it is clearly eating up most of our income. My husband had earlier suggested we transfer them to public school and I dismissed it. With the current realities, we may have to revisit that conversation.

    Worried by the hike in fees, Chinyere Nwadike, another parent of two children in a private school in Egbeda, Lagos also feared she may have to change schools for her kids.

    I’m going to be paying about N145,000 for each of them for this term. I’ve already gone around to check and discovered that no private school is cheap. My best bet would be to register them in the one that is cheaper than the present one since I don’t exactly like public school at all.

    “Increase due to economic realities” – School Proprietor

    When WOTHAPPEN reached out to some school proprietors to respond to the complaints made by parents and guardians, they declined. Only one school proprietor was available for comments in a phone conversation with us, even though she requested that her name and school be not mentioned.

    She said that the increases were no fault of the schools and blamed it on the increases in every commodity, good and service in the country. She said:

    If we are being honest, everyone can testify that the price of everything in Nigeria keeps going up by the day. From food stuff to building materials to services, the prices change every day as a result of the biting inflation. The cost of production of educational materials is also on the high side.

    Let me give you an instance. The price we buy school uniform materials has increased in the last few months. Even the tailors that sew the uniforms have also increased their prices for the jobs. Considering these factors, there’s no way we would give the uniforms at the last session’s rate and not run at a huge loss. This example applies to every item that has increased.

    “Schools have too many bills to pay” – Educationist

    Mrs Tinuke Adebayo, an educationist and staff of the Lagos State University, Ojo, told Legit.ng that running a private school in Nigeria can be very demanding.

    I’m also a parent and I understand the sacrifices that parents are making, but that the schools are businesses that must equally survive the harsh economic realities. It will amaze you to know that some of these schools run on bank loans. Schools sometimes rent buildings they are occupying and the rent must be paid. The salaries of teachers and other staff need to be paid. They also have to fuel generators and acquire standard equipment and facilities. For your information, there are some government levies that they are also expected to keep paying just to remain afloat.

    Folarin Akinwale, Head of Admin at Bright Child Academy in Okota, Lagos, told WOTHAPPEN that the answer to the complaints is a simple matter of priority. He advised that parents can explore the public schools and mix it with home tutoring if they can’t afford private schools.

    It is quite understandable if any parent is considering removing their children from private to public school. What one should first note is that what is obtainable in a private school is different from that of a public school. So if you feel burdened by the fees, it is perfectly okay to withdraw your child and register him or her in a public school. I believe there is a sense in the saying, ‘cut their coat according to their clothes’.

    Government intervention needed

    It’s no news that the standard of the public education system in Nigeria has declined, hence, the desire of many parents and guardians to place their children and wards in private schools. But with the declining economy and several other factors, it is becoming increasingly difficult for many parents to meet up with this responsibility.

    The government may not be able to intervene on behalf of the parents by dictating the fees that should be charged by private schools, but they can do well by reforming the public schools by creating the best learning environment, providing the best equipment and facilities and employing qualified teachers.

    Most expensive private schools in Nigeria

    The standard of education in Nigeria has been on a decline since the 1990s, giving rise to the emergence of private schools. While there are about 9,500 public schools in Nigeria, over 17,000 private schools exist.

    WOTHAPPEN in an earlier article captured the most expensive secondary schools in Nigeria and their costs.

    Some of the schools include British International School, Lekki British International School, Grange School, Day Waterman College and Meadow Hall School.

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