Many parents in Lagos State have started withdrawing their children from private to public schools, due to the current economic recession. Punch learnt that the parents took the decision when they discovered that their income could no longer meet their needs.
Some proprietors of private schools, who spoke with Punch said they were expecting such situation. The Deputy President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, Mr. Abayomi Otubela, told one of our correspondents that one of his members in Mushin, Lagos State, had formally complained that parents were withdrawing their children in droves, from her school to the public schools in the area.
A mother of three, Mrs. Favour Ukpong, whose child attends a private school at the Fagba area of Lagos, said that she had withdrawn her daughter from the school and moved her to a public school.
Ukpong said, “I just realised that I can’t afford the fees any longer. More so, the proprietors have increased the fees from N18,000 to N25,000. How much do I make from the second-hand clothes I sell? I don’t make much. Paying N18,000 had even been a challenge for me. I took my time to search for a good public school in my area. I am happy with my choice.”
Another parent, Mrs. Wemimo Abiodun said her child’s tuition had increased by N10, 000, which spurred her decision to withdraw her daughter from a private school at the Ojodu-Berger area of Lagos.
She said, “There are good public schools that have sound teachers. Many parents get carried away with the hype that comes with having a child in a private school. I had wanted to withdraw my daughter long time ago. The tuition was N40,000 and has now increased to N50,000. My husband can’t afford that.”
Also, a banker, Mr. Steve Aliyu, who said he was a victim of a mass purge in his organisation recently, said he had withdrawn his four year-old daughter from a private to a public school.
He said, “I took the decision because I was affected by the recent retrenchment exercise in one of the new generation banks, and things have not been easy for me and my family.”
A small scale industrialist, Mr. John Adaeze, also said he decided to take his two children to a public school in his area when he considered the tuition fees and transportation fare to their former private school.
He said, “Business is down and my wife is not working yet. We were paying about N500,000 per term in the former school of our two children. As a matter of fact, I signed an undertaking to pay their fees before they were allowed to write their examinations last term.”
Similarly, a widow, who is a mother of four, in the Ketu area of Lagos, who identified herself as Mrs. Davies, said she decided to withdraw her children from a private school because she could no longer shoulder the responsibility of paying their tuition fees in their former private school alone.
Also, a businessman, Mr. Adebola Ola, said he withdrew his three children to a less expensive private school due to funds paucity.
He said, “I have three children in an international school, but with the current recession in the country, my wife and I agreed and we have moved them to a less expensive private school.”
A school proprietress/principal, Mrs. Uzor Oluwaluyi, said, “I envisaged that due to the harsh economic recession in the country, the possibility of parents moving their kids from private schools to public schools as a new school year beckons is 50/50.”
Another school proprietress, Mrs. Abimbola Oni, expressed fears that rather than taking their kids to public schools, some parents might decide to keep them at home.
She said “You would be amazed that some parents will keep their wards at home, rather than take them to public schools. Recently, three parents with children in my school approached me and told me that they’d be withdrawing their children from our school when school resumes due to lack of funds.”
The Proprietress, Children International School, Lekki, Lagos State, Mrs. Joke Chukwuma, explained that private school operators were aware of the hard times most parents are going through and had decided to make payment of fees, conducive for them.
She said, “We can’t reduce school fees because we don’t want to lower our quality or standard. What we can do is give parents softer payment terms. So, instead of them paying a year in advance, they pay per term. Some can even pay on monthly basis.”