Vanguard (Lagos)

10 January 2013

Nigeria: Schools Resume After Christmas Holidays

December comes with merry-making and shopping for Christmas and New Year.

But parents do these with tuition fees and school materials in mind, because immediately after the fun time, schools resume. Across the country many resumed on January 6 and others will resume on January 14.

Though the second term of every academic year is not as hectic as the third, it is still packed with academics and extracurricular activities. Vanguard Learning went to town for the views of parents/guardians on how they have prepared for their wards.

A principal, who pleaded anonymity, said parents should not to wait till resumption before making arrangements for their wards' school fees, should prepare them psychologically for resumption and also treat them for malaria and typhoid.

Resumption costs a lot, especially for those with more than one kid to send to school and have to keep a special budget for school materials. "I have just a son in day care and it costs me N30,000 to keep him there," says Mrs. George, a banker.

She said: "If I spend this much on day care, you can imagine what it would cost when he enters primary school and would require school uniforms and books."

Mrs. Uzor, a mother of two, says keeping two children in school is not an easy task. "Aside the N28,000 school fees, I have spent N22,500 on books. The annoying thing is, poor quality aside, the books used this year are not the same for next year. So my daughter can't pass the books down to her younger one," Uzor said.

Wearing the proper school uniforms is imperative in Nigeria, especially among private schools. This has popularised shops specialising in the selling of school uniforms. So it is no wonder that the prices of some school materials like uniforms, exercise books and reading materials have slightly gone up. Mrs. Uzor had to pay additional N1,500 for her daughter's school books.

However, for the Managing Director of Tobola School Shop, Mrs. Kunbi Adewunmi, business is not at the peak as there is no rush for school uniforms as against September, which is the beginning of the school year.

According to her, "aside parents who need that odd shirt or skirt or for those changing school that need new uniforms, business is just okay and there has been no considerable change in the prices."

Another factor is that being a new year, new changes and innovations are expected to enhance learning. According to the Chairperson, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs. Gbolahan Daudu, the Board would build more libraries and provide more learning materials other than text books to usher in the needed change that would reposition education, especially in Lagos State.

Daudu said: "We would also focus more on teachers' training because the teachers have to get it right for us to effect the kind of change we want. So far, we have trained teachers in 600 schools remaining 401."

This was corroborated by the Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Lanre Bajulaiye, who charged parents to pay more attention to their wards as teachers are better trained to impact more knowledge to them.

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