• Thursday, June 20, 2024
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BusinessDay

School resumption in January stokes concern among parents

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The Lagos State government instructed all primary and secondary schools to open their gates for the second term on Tuesday, January 4, 2022, but the rising cost of living is causing many parents to worry.

January school resumption is usually a troublesome period for parents, guardians, and school owners alike. The main reason for this is that school resumption after Christmas comes with acute financial challenges.

Investigation has shown that many parents are already in the hustling and bustling to meet up with yuletide buying. And according to a market price survey, the cost of goods has gone up more than 20 per cent and the salary is not forthcoming.

Many parents who spoke with BusinessDay expressed their worries over the back-to-school needs of their children amidst the financial crunches staring them in the face.

According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), food prices in Nigeria increased considerably compared to 2020. Beans, maize, and oil prices increased the most. In particular, the price of beans grew by over 60 percent compared to the previous year, while the price of palm oil added up to 40 percent more.

Friday Erhabor, a parent expressing his view on this, said bearing in mind that there are other responsibilities after the yuletide and the mere fact that January always seems to be longer than other months is a germane reason parents should learn to celebrate the yuletide within their income.

“School resumption after Christmas has one major challenge, which is money. That is the primary challenge and parents should celebrate the yuletide having one thing in mind, that there are school fees to be paid.

“If they cannot afford to kill a goat, they should use chicken; if they cannot afford chicken, let them use fish.

“Parents should not spend all the available money on Christmas and New Year celebrations, forgetting there are school fees to be paid in January,” he said.

Olushola Remilekun, a mother, said she has opted to be prudent with her spending in this festive season to ensure there is something to deposit with the school while awaiting January salary.

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“How to pay the second term school fees is my headache now, the children must have their Christmas wears and celebrations, yet salary is not there; I do not know how we are going to cope with this, however, I’m prepared to make the needed sacrifice to have something back for school fees,” she said.

Deborah Ilori, a public servant is more worried about how to cope with waking up early and combining school runs with her secular work.

“Combining my secular job with preparing my children for school every day is my headache. It is hectic and strength draining, I wish the holiday could last longer,” she stated.

Stanley Alaubi, a university don believes that it would be ideal for parents and school owners to reach an agreement in the face of the prevailing situation.

“Parents and school owners should have had a symbiotic relationship before now. It is all about understanding. The same relationship that exists with customers and business owners,” he said.

For Olayinka Bolarinwa, budgeting is key to meeting the challenges that come with school resumption in January.

“Prioritizing needs comes to the fore as what is determined as needful, and expendable must have been determined from the onset,” he insists.

Bolarinwa said parents should before this time has had plans set out on the best way to celebrate.

Lizzy Ohaka, the owner of Redwood Academy, Lagos argued that with the economic situation in the country it will be difficult for many schools to reduce tuition fees because they also need financial muscles to thrive.

However, Ohaka reiterated that her school has plans to cushion the pains of economic hardship on parents by allowing them to pay their children’s fees in instalments.

“In addition, we are not going to charge the normal amount for excursion fees and other extra-curricular activities fees, we have resolved that the students will pay 25 percent of the normal amount, while the exercise will be done virtually to reduce cost,” she said.

Besides, Ohaka said Redwood Academy has a platform where parents and guardians are educated on how to manage their children’s school fees and other back-to-school needs.

“The platform is called ‘Home and School Connect’. It is meant to create synergy between parents and schools. We share videos, articles, and materials that will help parents and education stakeholders to be better, especially in strategic financial planning,” she said.