As the 2018/2019 academic session unfolds, many parents have expressed their displeasure with the rising cost of textbooks prescribed for pupils in primary and secondary schools.
Describing the situation, in separate interviews with our correspondent, as damaging to their finances, some of the parents complained that even the prescribed books for children in nursery schools had suddenly become unaffordable.
One parent, Mr Tamuno Peters, is not happy that, despite spending so much on books, he still cannot pass the books on to his younger children because their school’s policy disallows it.
Peters says, “The cost of textbooks have increased by N10,000, just as tuition fees increased by N5,000 and sundry charges increased by N25,000. The rise in the cost of books is the worst because my younger children cannot inherit the books used the older ones. I paid an extra N10,000 to get books for my daughter who has just moved on to Class Four in primary school. I cannot understand that. But I am worried that my son, who is in Nursery Two, could be required to use books that are expensive.
“It is not as if my income has increased. Despite the N55,000 I paid for my daughter tuition, which was increased to N60,000 and N45,000 school fees of my son that was increased to N50,000, my wife still has to teach the children at home, even after the after-school lesson. The only good thing is that they will allow the children to start school and you can pay instalmentally,” Peters says.
For Dr Ken Daboh, the 20 per cent increase in tuition fee demanded by his children’s school is not an easy pill to swallow. His grouse is that schools are not taking the current state of the economy into consideration when making demands.
“There was no increment in the school fees, but the cost of books increased by a whopping 20 per cent. There has been no adjustment in my own practice with my patients, so it is stressful to have to spend more. Schools should consider the situation of the economy and find a way to reduce the cost of books. That is what I and most of the parents in my children’s school were complaining about, but what can we do? Our children need these books,” he says.
The opportunity to negotiate with school administrators has made Mr Chukwura Adesanya’s life a lot easier. With children in public and private secondary schools, he believes that the non-negotiable aspect of public schools’ fee payment makes them unapproachable.
He says “The major challenge will be financial, but the challenge doesn’t actually come from the school, I would say that it is due to the current situation in the country. For the one in a public school, the school fees are paid through Remita and every kobo must be paid before the child is allowed into the school premises. “This is unlike the private schools where you can speak with the school authority or management to allow the child resume and you get to pay the fees as time goes on. However, there was no increment because it is a government school. You don’t pay tuition fees, but you are required to pay for other things.
“With the private school, they have too many extracurricular activities that cost money, especially when they have their career days and you have to buy all the attire of the profession your child picks.
“Aside that, I am beginning to prefer private schools because one can pay fees instalmentally and negotiate with the management of the school. They even have discounts for having more than one child in the school. If the economy were better, these things would not be seen as challenges.”