School resumption, Ondo parents groan as school fees, text book price soar
With the new academic session beckoning, the signs of back-to-school are everywhere, particularly as parents hit the market for last-minute purchases.
Meanwhile, amid the usual back-to-school frenzy, worry clouds the air in Akure, the Ondo State capital, following the recent economic hardship, worsened by the removal of fuel subsidy and the inflation sweeping across sectors.
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According to findings by DAILY POST, prior to the abrupt economic downturn, primary school fees ranged between N35,000 and N50,000 per term.
For the fees for secondary, they used to hover around N65,000 and N150,000.
However, inflation has pushed these figures significantly higher, with parents with wards in primary school now facing a steep increase to about N75,000 to N120,000 per term.
Similarly, the cost of textbooks and uniforms has now escalated to an overwhelming level.
This drastic surge in education-related expenses has left many parents feeling depressed.
Funmi Omoniyi, a single mother of three, while lamenting the development, told DAILY POST that “the fees are higher, the cost of books has nearly doubled, and every day expenses have spiralled out of control.
“If I spend more on education, how can I provide for my basic needs at home? How do I feed my children; it’s killing.”
Another parent, Mr. Aliyu, who shared his frustration, stressed that “the removal of fuel subsidy has had a spiral effect on almost every aspect of our life, including education.
“It is disheartening to see the dreams and aspirations of our children being constrained by these financial challenges,” he said.
In order to cope with the circumstances, many families are turning to a variety of coping techniques. They are sticking to strict budgets and reducing wasteful spending.
Mrs Bola Daunsi, a head teacher in one of the private schools in Akure, emphasised that the decision to increase school fees was not taken easily but was driven by various factors beyond the school’s control.
Daunsi maintained that private schools are not immune to the economic challenges faced currently across the country.
The head teacher, however, acknowledged the hardships faced by families as a result of the economic downturn.
“Rising inflation,escalating operational costs, increased salaries for teaching staff, and the need to maintain high-quality education standards have all contributed to the need for fee adjustments.
“These adjustments are essential to ensure the continued provision of quality education and the overall sustainability of the schools,” she stated.
Meanwhile, a civil servant in the Ministry of Education, who craved anonymity, stated that the state government barred government-owned schools from increasing fees.