My optical lens on why Nigerian Parents Prefer Expensive Schools
I was privileged to attend private schools all through my educational journey. My parents often got backlash from friends and families because of my fee. However, I could attend any school close to the house. My great-dad said he was building our future and believed his choice of school would do a great job. He believed attending an expensive school could give children access to a network of alumni and connections that can be valuable later in life. Moreso, these schools often have better resources, such as state-of-the-art facilities, technology, and extracurricular programs. It has been 11 years since secondary school, and I owe my growth to my teachers.
I had a conversation with someone on my WhatsApp contact list yesterday, and he gave reasons why parents should not put their kids in schools higher than their monthly income. He tried to create a perspective with numbers, which I will do for a more realistic approach.
Mr. A earns #30,000 monthly, while his wife earns #30,000. They have three kids; the first is seven years old, whose school fee is #45,000/term; the second is four years old, #35,000/term; the last is two years old, and is about to start school, whose fee is about #60,000. Mr. A and his wife live in a room and parlor apartment and pay #15,000/per month. My friend said he doesn’t think Mr. A is not making a good financial decision.
Here is my opinion to justify Mr. A’s actions
#1 Education in Nigeria is expensive
Gone are the days primary school students paid #5,000/term; now, children pay as much as #50,000/term. Of course, there are still schools charging less than #20,000 per term, but most times, their quality is questionable, and here is why.
- Renting a standard three-bedroom flat for a primary school starts at #750,000/year, excluding agency fees in not-so-tush areas of Lagos.
- Salary and other expenses. NCE holder still receives #20,000 in some schools.
With the factors mentioned above, can a school whose fee is less than #20,000 rent a standard place and hire enough hands to pay the salary of their teachers? Hence, they would rather convert an available building into smaller classes, combine two classes, and hire secondary school graduates. How can these people teach the students well? How about proper ventilation and a good toilet? There are a lot of mushroom schools in Lagos with extremely affordable school fees, located in flooded areas and dirty environments. These places are unhealthy for children.
As it stands, standardized education cannot be termed cheap, you have to pay for it. Most of the half-baked graduates we see around are results of these faulty primary education that were executed with just cents.
#2 Primary Education is the foundation
I believe primary education is very important; I wouldn’t hesitate to send my children to a community secondary school, but they will attend the best primary school within my reach. Many Nigerian parents want the best for their kids, and those who understand the importance of quality education would not mind paying through their nose. While this may not be financially intelligent, we cannot blame these parents for their choice.
When you see Masters degree holders who cannot spell properly, who do not understand the use of concord, check their primary education. E don slant.
#3 A lot of cheap schools are not government approved
Firstly, cheap schools do not have the resources to meet the basic standards set by the government for things like facilities, technology, and teacher qualifications. I served in a secondary school that doubles as an exam center for WAEC, and it is saddening that many schools are not government approved. Yes, they are cheap, but how do you verify the curriculum they follow? Who approves their syllabus? While it is easy to argue that some children in expensive schools are unintelligent, remember that we are talking about the quality of the education received, not the child’s performance.
Moreover, cheap schools may not give students the education and skills they need to succeed, leading to poor academic performance and low graduation rates.
#4 Location is a determinant factor
Location can play a significant role in determining the fee of a school. Schools located in areas with a high-cost of living may charge higher fees to cover their operating costs and meet their budget. You can’t compare schools on the mainland and the island based on the location. A Secondary school located in a village in Ondo State can be #30,000 with good teachers, a nice environment, vast land, and even government approved. In Lagos, it is different. You might be lucky to get a good school with affordable fees and a favorable distance for mobility.
I strongly believe that quality education can shape a child’s life properly. While I might give my opinion from the point of privilege, it is not extremely bad for parents to pay so much for their kids. We all know what is happening in the country; many parents are taking loans to put their children in private universities because ASUU is a battle Nigeria is still fighting. My friend asked why parents would pay their kids’ school fees through their nose when there is a cheaper school around. My answer is a child’s future is worth taking a risk.
If you know any parent dealing with this, you might need to tell them to get a better job so they can conveniently pay their children’s school fees.
So, what’s your opinion?