- Schools may experience poor turn-out
In time past, summer time used to be a period of relaxation and fun for pupils and students in both primary and secondary schools.
But lately, not a few schools, especially those located in the urban areas, have converted the season to one for conducting extra tutorials for the wards and of course, earning extra money.
Over the years, for parents, who also want the best of academic training for their children, the practice by the schools have earned their approvals, notwithsatnding the extra expenses it brings with it.
However, the programme may not achieve its purpose this year as parents and guardians have been lamenting the exhorbitant increments to fees payable in most of the schools, private educational bodies and related organisations for summer coaching.
There seems to be a consensus that the increased fees constitute exploitation.
Mrs. Mariam Musa, a parent with three childern in the lower basic cadre of a standard school, located around Ikeja area of Lagos State, said that she would not be able to enroll her wards for summer school because of the fees.
According to her, last summer, fees were not as expensive as what obtained this year. “It has been between the ranges of N10,000 to N12,000 for a month in the past three years, including the usual summer activities. But, this year it is very high. We are told to pay N15, 000 per child. Where do we get that from?”
Musa said that the situation of the country made it more difficult for parents to cough out such extra money.
To Mr. Johnbright Olusoji, based in Jos, there was no need enrolling his two kids for summer coaching because, according to him, the school only wanted to exploit their pupils.
He said, “I do not know what they want to teach them now that shouldn’t have been done during the academic school calendar. I feel they purposely shifted some major activities to summer, so that they would make sufficient money out of this.”
According to him, overseas, summer period is majorly for relaxation and exploring of new places the pupils and students have learnt and read about in their classes for free. But here in Nigeria, the schools charge us (parents) exhortant fees.
Another parent, whose child attends a public secondary school in Lagos, Mrs. Temitope Sanni, said that she had no other alternative because government does not run summer coaching in their schools.
She said that the private schools within her locality were expensive, which explained why she decided to enroll her kid in a nearby public school.
“The amount they said we should pay is N12,000 for a month, which will include learning of some skills they lack in public schools such as swimming, creative writing, phonetics, and the effective use of the internet,” she stressed.
Sanni commended the efforts of private schools on such innovation to keep the learners busy during the long vacation.
She, however, urged government to introduce summer coaching in the curriculum.
On their part, some school owners gave reasons for the increase and frowned at the complaints of parents.
Mrs. Doyin Durotimi, a proprietress, explained that the N10, 000 fees per child weekly includes many activities the learners missed during the academic session, especially some skills their schools could not provide.
Another representative from another secondary school in Lagos, Mr. Oladele said that the school charged N20, 000 as summer school fee per child every month.
Oladele said, “We don’t provide school buses during summer break. The other option is the provision of boarding for such students, which costs N55, 000 for the whole month.”
Another private school owner outside Lagos frowned at the complaints of parents about the fee. Mrs. Oyin Damola had been running summer coaching for pupils in Abeokuta for the past 10 years.
Damola said that “parents send their children from urban areas to spend their long vacation with their cousins, grandparents and other family members. So, the hosts, sometimes, decide to enroll the children in my summer academy in order to keep them busy.
“Although, we don’t really do much as it is done in the cities, we create platforms for them to play and have fun. We also give them snacks, which is another form of attraction for these wards. And that is why we don’t really increase the fee. Our summer school fee is only N5000. The minimum population we have had in previous years is 220 pupils and students,” she added.
On the contrary, a teacher in an international school in Lagos Island, Mrs. Abimbola Gregory said they do not run summer school because they believe the period is supposed to be for relaxation, travelling and fun.
“I am on a month leave. We don’t run summer school because we expect the learners to rest their brains and also travel to other states and countries for more exposure. In most cases, the school organises travel tour for them and selected teachers join them on the trip at very affordable amount,” she stressed.