• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

High cost of living takes toll on Nigerian teachers

FG’s new teachers devt scheme gets $10.4m support from Korea

Abimbola Olatunji is a 42-year-old teacher and father of four who lives in Ikorodu. Olatunji who works in a private secondary school in his environment survives on his N60,000 monthly income with his family, which is barely enough to make ends meet.

To increase his income and meet the needs of his family, Olatunji resulted to taking up extra home lessons for pupils.

He had eight pupils in January but the number has reduced to three as families cut down on spending to survive the inflationary period.

“I survive by the extra lessons I do, but three parents have asked I discontinue their wards that they can no longer afford payments,” he says.

“I have eight of them and collect N15,000 per child which is an additional N120,000 to my monthly income. But that has reduced to N45,000,” he explains.

“How do I survive on that with my family in an inflationary period?” he asks.

Olatunji’s case is similar to several teachers who are negatively impacted by the increase in the cost of living across the country.

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Rose Chukwu, a teacher in a private secondary in Ojota says two parents have also asked her to suspend the extra lesson with their children.

“It a big blow to me, as I support my family from my income, and having it reduced in an inflationary period is killing,” she says.

“Both parents could not afford to continue because their salary has also reduced owing to the inflation and they needed to prioritise,” she adds.

She notes that parents also know the situation and are trying to survive.

Nigeria’s inflation rate quickened to a new 18-year high at 27.3 percent in October, a level that shows it is more expensive to live in Africa’s most populous nation today than it was in 2015, according to the most recent inflation data from NBS.

With food inflation hitting 31.6 percent, the key driver of Nigeria’s core inflation as over 90 percent of Nigeria’s working population spends 60 percent of their income on food and related food-related expenses, analysts say.

John Adegoroye, an educationist tells BusinessDay that the situation is similar in schools, noting that parents are now carefully choosing extra curriculum activities their wards participate in which involves costs.

Read also: Nigerians rely on unhappy teachers to develop education sector

“Lots of parents have stopped their children from extra lessons the school is organizing. I have spoken to a couple of them to ask why and they all say they could not afford the cost any longer owing to their dwindling income and high cost of living,” Adegoroye said.

Nigeria currently has 133 million multidimensionally poor people, representing 63 percent of the nation’s total population of 211 million individuals, according to the 2022 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

With an MPI score of 0.257, a quarter of the poor people in Nigeria suffer all possible deprivations, the report showed.

Friday Orobator, a parent with children in both secondary schools shared his experience. “My first son is more intelligent so, I decided to discontinue his extra lessons,” he says.

“We only continued that of his younger brother but I had to look for a teacher who is willing to take a lesser fee. Things are hard and everybody is trying to survive,” he notes.