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Schools resumption amid high cost of education materials



TIME they say changes and it takes highly equipped individuals with practical knowledge, experience and self-determination to go against the tide and remain standing. Recently, a joke went viral on social media:

“Please be careful while driving, ensure you obey traffic rules, and also make sure your vehicle papers are complete.

If not, stay off the road because it is school fees time and men of the force, police, FRSC, task force and even local council officials, are out to generate their children’s school fees. Don’t fall victim.”

As schools nationwide commence or are preparing to commence the 2019/2020 academic session, concerned parents, teachers and even school administrators groan under the harsh economy.

It becomes more challenging as parents wonder how to meet up with their children’s school needs. As the moaning parents wonder how they will raise their children’s school fees, the school administrators on their own part, are worried by the ever suppressing harsh economy and high cost of living.

Only very few schools dare to increase school fees for fear of losing patronage of the already overburdened parents, and teachers are not left out as they, on their own part,

are wondering how they are going to manage their meager salaries to take care of their homes and their children’s school responsibilities, as increase in salaries is not forthcoming. Above all, many parents have expressed their displeasure with the rising cost of school materials.

Describing the situation, Mr Ifedilichukwu Augustine, a public servant and a father of four school-aged children said, “I do not know what schools are turning into these days.

They are not even taking the current state of the economy into consideration when making demands. Most schools now demand that parents buy almost all the school supplies from the school- from text books to even pencils and crayons.

Most schools also have their branded note-books, that parents can’t even make the mistake of going to the market for even note-books.  One would be making the mistake of one’s life thinking that the prices of these materials are at par with that of the markets, because the school prices are way higher than that of the markets.

These days, parents cannot sew their children’s school uniforms at the normal tailors’ shop. Even if a parent is a tailor, that tailor parent must pay exorbitantly for the uniforms to be sewn and delivered by someone else.

If a parent dares to buy whatever material that the school sells elsewhere, the school authority must find a reason to reject those materials, forcing those parents to come back and buy those materials from the schools.

As mind boggling as this might sound, this happens around us, and parents most times are helpless. They are helpless because, if they choose to change schools for their children, they are definitely going to meet the same, similar or worse conditions in that school they will run to. This is how decayed our education system has become.

“Again, gone are the days when siblings pass textbooks to their younger ones to use after they might have used them. In those days, even parents whose children did not keep their own text books or who do not have grown children who could have used those books borrow from parents whose children used and kept the said text books.

The onus in those days was for children to have text books, irrespective of where or how they got them. Parents buy only exercise books and other school materials for their children.

But these days, education has changed dramatically from what it used to be. It is now new text books for each child, even if the child is repeating the same class. As long as the child comes back for registration, the parents must buy new text books.

For me, this is the height of madness and nobody is doing anything about it. It is high time the government began to clamp down on schools with such absurd learning conditions.

The PTA’s in various schools should also rise against this trending madness.”It is therefore no longer news that at this school resumption period, parents are seen doing all manner of things, in order to meet up with the absurd school demands.

So, in my own opinion, the government and other concerned stakeholders should have a way of redressing this abnormally, one way or the other, the offending school authorities must be called to order.

For Mrs Helen Enyioma, “While it is excitement for the children, who will have almost everything changed – new classes, new uniforms, new shoes, new friends, new textbooks, new bags, etc – it is sometimes a panicky feeling for parents, considering the cost of getting their children and wards ready for a new session.

They said Nigeria is out of recession but it is yet to reflect on the cost of living because the prices of things in the market are still quite high. I am tempted to believe that the traders are taking undue advantage of the economic situation to exploit consumers.

At this school resumption period, the prices of school materials have doubled in the markets. Some materials are even scarce and I cannot tell if the scarcity is artificial or real.

Traders in dealing in school items such as textbooks, school bags and stationeries, however, ruled out any form of profiteering, saying that the profit margin on books was quite minimal.”

Mrs Igwebuike Mary, a bookshop owner, when asked why the costs of books and school supplies have doubled at this school resumption period said, “we are into this business to keep body and soul together, not that there is much gain in the business.

Even the publishers are complaining of the high cost of materials and papers, so they have reduced the quantity they usually publish. Some are not even publishing at all again. As such; some of the books requested for are not available. I have a list of books that parents have been coming to ask for and I have called the publishers several times to find out if the books would be available but their responses are not promising.”

On her own part, Mrs Ogechi Uzodike, who deals in school bags and lunch boxes, said, “September of every year happens to be a period for higher sales in this line of business but this year, the reverse has been the case because very few parents are buying new school bags and lunch boxes, while majority opted for repairs of their old ones.

This situation has left us at crossroads because we stocked our shops with new goods hoping that there will be increase in sales. Since this is the only source of income for my family, I wonder how I will be able to raise my children’s school fees and other school materials”.






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