There were strong indications as schools resumed academic activities on Monday that private schools in Nigeria have been hit by the economic rescission.
They recorded low patronage and about 40 per cent withdrawal of students following inability of most parents to afford school fees.
Proprietors of the schools have been lamenting what they described as negative impact of the economic recession on their business, confirming that they may suffer more than 40 per cent shortfall in patronage, as students settle down.
Some of the schools in Ajaoe Estate, a suburb of Lagos, known for upsurge in number of enrolment, were not as busy as they used to be on every week of resumption. Same thing was noticeable in some other schools in several parts of the city.
There was a noticeable reduction in the number of parents and guardians inquiring or registering their children or wards.
“A week to resumption is usually a busy time for us to attend to parents and guardians, but with the way things are, there is not going to be much hope this time around. In fact, some of the old students have been unable to settle bills and are on the verge of being withdrawn by their parents to public schools”, one proprietor said.
The same scenario is playing itself out in other parts of the country, with reports confirming that most private schools are affected by the same economic meltdown.
In the south eastern region, private school owners were forced to reduce school fees to retain their pupils as many parents muted massive withdrawal of their children for not being able to afford the fees.
But the side effect of this, said an educationist, and is that the likely withdrawal of many pupils from private to public schools would lead to the overstretching of existing facilities in the latter.
This is not helped by an announcement from official quarters that the federal government had already directed all public schools to reduce admission quota into most of its schools by 44 per cent to prevent overstretching their facilities.
Investigation showed that King’s College, Queen’s College and the Federal Science Technical College, all in Lagos, have placed a ceiling on the number of pupils to be admitted this year.
Bu deputy director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Ben Bem-Goong, who confirmed this, said there was an upsurge in the number of applications into federal government-owned schools this year.
By Emma Eke….
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