As the new academic year approaches, many parents are busy preparing for their children’s return to school. However, in Akure, the capital of Ondo State, and Ado Ekiti, the capital of Ekiti State, there is more than just excitement in the air. There is also a sense of anxiety and frustration, as the recent economic crisis has made education more expensive than ever.
Newsflash Nigeria reports that the cost of education in Akure and Ado Ekiti has increased significantly due to inflation, fuel subsidy removal, and other factors.
For instance, primary school fees that used to range between N35,000 and N50,000 per term have now risen to about N75,000 to N120,000 per term. Similarly, secondary school fees that used to be between N65,000 and N150,000 have now soared to even higher levels.
The cost of textbooks and uniforms has also gone up drastically, making it harder for parents to afford the essential items for their children’s education.
Many parents have expressed their dismay and distress over the situation, saying that it is affecting their quality of life and their children’s future.
Seun Aderipe, a single mother of two, told Newsflash Nigeria that she is struggling to cope with the increased expenses.
“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,” she said.
Another parent, Mr. Adesina, who shared his frustration, said that the fuel subsidy removal has had a domino effect on every aspect of their life, including education.
“It is disheartening to see the dreams and aspirations of our children being constrained by these financial challenges,” he said.
To deal with the situation, many families have adopted various coping strategies. They have cut down on unnecessary spending and stuck to strict budgets. They have also looked for alternative sources of income or support from relatives and friends.
Mrs Bola Daunsi, a head teacher in one of the private schools in Akure, explained that the decision to increase school fees was not taken lightly but was necessitated by various factors beyond the school’s control.
She said that private schools are also facing the same economic challenges as the rest of the country.
Daunsi said that 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.
She also acknowledged the hardships faced by families as a result of the economic downturn and appealed for their understanding and cooperation.
Meanwhile, a civil servant in the Ministry of Education, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the state government has prohibited government-owned schools from increasing fees. He said that this is to ensure that education remains accessible and affordable for all citizens.
He also urged parents to take advantage of the free education policy of the state government and enroll their children in public schools if they cannot afford private schools.
He added that the state government is committed to improving the quality and standard of education in the state despite the economic challenges.
The rising cost of back-to-school expenses is a major concern for parents in Akure and Ado Ekiti. The state governments and private schools must work together to find ways to make education more affordable for families, particularly those with low incomes.