• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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BusinessDay

School resumption: Parents in dilemma

Does one size fits all?

Come September 5, 2022, many primary and secondary schools in Nigeria would resume for the 2022/2023 new academic session.

Starting a new academic session to some parents is not a new experience, while for some others it is entirely a new experience, and a time to look for schools ideal for their children.

In every new academic session, especially at primary and secondary school levels, there are always the demands for new textbooks, exercise books, uniforms, schoolbags, and other necessary school needs because, in most cases, virtually every brilliant child will be going to a new class.

The average prices of household items across major cities in the country have surged by over 100 percent in the last one year, causing inflation to accelerate to 19.64 percent in July, the highest since October 2005

However, the prevailing circumstances in the country’s ecosystem have left many parents wondering how to navigate their way through the torrent waves of high inflation rate ravaging the land. With the high inflation surge in the country, many parents are worried on how to cope with the difficult realities on ground.

According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report for the month of July 2022 from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria’s inflation rate was 463.6 relative to 387.5 in July 2021.

In July 2022, on a year-on-year basis, the headline inflation rate was 19.64percent. This was 2.27percent points higher compared with the rate recorded in July 2021, which was (17.38%). On a month-on-month basis, the headline inflation rate in July 2022 was 1.817percent, which was 0.001percent higher than the rate recorded in June 2022 (1.816%).

This simply depicts that the cost of living in Nigeria is getting higher on a daily basis, and with the inflation rate on the increase life is getting much more expensive to an average Nigerian.

The average prices of household items across major cities in the country have surged by over 100 percent in the last one year, causing inflation to accelerate to 19.64 percent in July, the highest since October 2005. Food inflation quickened to 22.02 percent in July, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Many households are groaning on the back of rising cost of staples amid shrinking disposable incomes.

Nigeria’s economy is a thing of concern; the sufferings of the masses have been so much that many are even considering withdrawing their children from schools.

With house rents going up to 100percent increase, transportation fares rising as high as 40 to 50percent, depending on routes, and salaries not forthcoming, and even where they are gotten sometimes it comes either late or with many deductions, leaving the parents with little or what cannot take them home.

Besides, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike has not helped issues for some parents with children in public universities, this has in many ways paralysed their thought patterns to either embrace the private universities with their high cost implications or keep waiting until ASUU is pacified.

Some private universities charge over N700,000 in a session, while in public universities students are asked to pay about N85,000 and in some cases the students pay less.

Running away from ASUU with its uncertainties over incessant and lingering strikes to private universities with their up surging costs is like running away from evil men only to be embraced by an evil spirit (aman’hu ajo nmadu, agb’kwuru ajo nmuo), in both end, there is no relieve.

Read also: High cost of living takes toll on private schools

No doubt, this is the time for the government at various levels to look inwards and come up with programmes and policies that will help alleviate poverty and hardship among the citizens.

There is a great need to prioritise agriculture to reduce the cost of prices of food items. Nigerians need housing plans that will enable the common man on the street to have a roof over his head at a very affordable price.

Nigeria’s inflationary pressures come largely from rising food prices as food inflation for July rose for the fifth consecutive month to 22.02 percent from 20.60 percent in June 2022 and 21.03 percent in July 2021. At the current rate, the core inflation at 16.26 percent is the least when compared with the headline inflation and food inflation.

The Federal Government should accelerate investments in infrastructure that can bring down the cost of doing business and cost of production as the inflation in the country is mostly cost-pushed.

This includes investment in rail projects, road network, and power sector. This is because the cost of production is getting higher every day, which is the reason people are increasing the prices of their goods.

For instance, in Lagos State, to make life easier for people there is a need for the government to provide public buses that will convey commuters at affordable rates rather than leaving them at the mercy of park managers and drivers to exploit.

Providing public buses for students and pupils will go a long way to alleviate the financial difficulties parents are going through to have their children educated. There should be buses designated for children going to school.

It is high time governments subsidise the cost of getting a child educated, whether in public or private school, at least at the primary and secondary school levels.