• Monday, May 20, 2024
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Surging school fee squeezes Nigerian homes

Tinubu’s 100 Days: Nigerian families squeezed by surging school fees

As President Bola Tinubu marks 100 days in office, realities on the ground contradict his election promise to revive the education sector at all levels to meet the emerging global best practices and socio-economic realities.

Many Nigerians who had expected the Tinubu-led government would usher in the needed transformation in the education sector; are now worried as they groan over the negative effects the hike in school fees has subjected them in the face of the prevailing high cost of living.

Yemisi Ogunsola, a parent with a 200-level child at the University of Lagos, said the recent fee hike by tertiary institutions has thrown her off balance, coupled with the high cost of living eroding her family’s living standard.

“The situation is precarious and excruciating; we do not even know what to do. We are paying a surging electricity tariff, transport fare is on the rise, coupled with the high cost of food items.

The situation is traumatizing, I don’t even know how to go about it because we cannot ask the poor boy to withdraw, and the engineering course takes more years.

I’m disappointed with the way the new government is taking off. If President Tinubu continues this way, then, I will say, there is no hope for education in Nigeria,” she said.

Read also: School fees increase puts financial pressure on parents

Consequent to the President Tinubu-led administration’s assent to the Student Loan Act on Monday, June 12, 2023, many public universities in Nigeria have begun to increase fees for the 2023/2024 academic year citing prevailing economic realities and the need to be able to meet obligations to students and stakeholders in the face of high cost of living.

Besides, secondary schools have joined in the fee hike ‘madness’ as even federal government-owned schools have started increasing their fees.

Joseph Nwankwo, a businessman with children in both secondary school and university said the reality of the high cost of living hitting hard on many homes as prices of everything including school fees, books, uniforms, boarding fees, food, and other items have gone up.

“I have a child in one of the top-notch secondary schools in Lagos; the school has increased the fee to N1.2 million as against N500,000 we were paying before.

Read also: Parents hit with nightmare as school fees soar

This is just ridiculous, where do I start from, the elder brother is in the university, and we are yet to know their new fee,” he said.

Blessing Nwachukwu, a mother of two described the situation as an ill wind that blows crises to both students and parents.

“The increment is happening at a hypercritical time in Nigeria when the masses are faced with multitudinous challenges which include petrol subsidy removal and inflation.

An increment in fees amounts to moving many students, especially those from poor homes from frying pan to a burning fire,” she said.

Ifeanyi Eke, an educationist describes the 100 days of President Tinubu in office as horrible days for education as according to him; the new government has shown it does not have adequate plans to streamline the concomitant challenges in the education sector.

Read also: UNILAG maintains fee hike to cover rising costs

“What the government is saying is that education is not for the children of the poor. Most of the students in public universities are from poor homes, how are they going to cope with this?” he asked.

Charles Onwunali, senior lecturer at UNILAG maintained that the subsidy removal and Student Loan Act endorsed by the government are pointers to the fact that the new government wants to commercialise education in Nigeria, especially at the tertiary level.

Achike Chude, deputy chairman of Joint Action Front (JAF) called for the government to fund public education adequately and ensure democratic management of allocation and finance of all institutions, as a panacea.