Nigeria’s current economic downturn has taken a toll on the country’s institutions of learning, from secondary school to institutions, as many parents and guardians have been forced to withdraw their wards from private secondary schools.
As private institutions resumed for the new academic session nationwide, many proprietors in the federal capital, Abuja, saw that their hitherto filled classrooms had become considerably sparse. Officials at some of the schools told our correspondent that parents had decided to move their children to more affordable public schools.
Many of the private schools, primary, secondary and university, charged fees that ranged from N200, 000 to one million naira per session. In addition, some of the private schools insist on collecting school fees in dollars, not naira
Our correspondent reported that various private schools in Abuja spoke of significant reductions in their student body. One school proprietor, who sought anonymity, described the development as “worrisome,” adding that the Federal Government should design an aid package to enable Nigerians to meet basic necessities and improve their living standards. He said the withdrawal of students from private schools was “a dangerous signal capable of spelling doom for the future of the country.”
He added: “It is pathetic that things have degenerated to this level where parents are forced to compromise the future of their children due to hardship. There is no alternative to education. Education should be seen not as a luxury but a necessity.”
One of the parents attributed her decision to withdraw two of her children from a private school to “non-payment of my salaries by the company I work for, and double digit inflation rates which have brought untold hardship to me and others.” She added that the economic situation has made it difficult for her and other parents to meet financial obligations. “The irregularity of my salary has drastically reduced my purchasing power,” she said.
Our correspondent learned that, by contrast, several government schools had seen a major spike in the number of student admissions. An effort to speak to the principal of Government Secondary School Wuse Zone 3 failed as he had reportedly left for a meeting.