After staying at home for nearly two months for their end of session vacation, primary and secondary pupils in private and government-owned schools in Lagos State will today resume for a new academic session.
While it is excitement for the pupils, who will have almost everything changed – new class, new uniforms, new shoes, new friends, new textbooks, new bags, etc – it is sometimes a panicky feeling for parents, considering the cost of getting their wards ready for a new session.
Yesterday, a joke went viral on social media: “Please be careful while driving, ensure you obey traffic rules and that your vehicle papers are complete. If not, stay off the road because it is school fees paying time and men of the force, police, FRSC, task force and even local council officials, are out to generate their children school fees. Don’t fall victim.”
At the weekend, parents were seen scampering to get items and make last-minute preparations for school resumption. Expectedly, there was hike in the prices of the essential items. Prices of 40 leaves, 60 leaves, and 80 leaves, moved from N600 to N800, N800 to N950, and N900 to N1,200 per pack respectively. Biro moved from N850 to N1,000 per pack, white board marker from N200 to N350 and prices of textbooks, shoes, sandals and bags of various sizes also went up.
Parents who spoke to The Guardian expressed delight that their wards were entering a new class but lamented the unnecessary hike, noting that shop-owners were taking advantage of the high demand to make quick profit. They reiterated the need for government to show commitment to the educational sector, as well as the security of schools.
Mrs. Bisi loruntobi, who accused the private schools of taking advantage of the poor government-funded school system to ridiculously charge high fees, called on government to regulate the private schools’ fees.
Mr. Victor Essien wants government to show increased commitment to developing education for improved efficiency, citing issues like low-level manpower, inadequate infrastructure, among others, as causes of the low standard of education in Nigeria.
A primary five pupil of Deerfield Schools, Whitesand, Chidubem Eze, said he was not particularly happy with the manner issues affecting children have been handled, adding that he wished more attention was given to their care and welfare. “I don’t see why, at times when we close from school, some students are seen selling sachet water on the streets.”
Earlier, the deputy governor of Lagos, Dr. Idiat Adebule, who also supervises the education ministry, at an Education Sectoral Meeting in Ikeja, vowed to severely sanction any public and private school that violates the joint agreement on resumption.
She noted that the adoption of a uniform calendar makes for proper planning and ensuring that pupils and students attend school for the number of days required in the term. Adebule further promised that the state government would be dedicated in the training, welfare of teachers and reward for excellence.