Private Schooling in Nigeria: The Case of Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way?!

Courtesy: Google Images

After the excitement and the extravagant show of wealth usually associated with the Christmas holidays, the month of January feels like a rude interruption, a jolt to the harsh reality of imminent financial responsibilities. Chief amongst these responsibilities is the payment of school fees....and the fees do NOT come cheap in this town Lagos!!!! As parents, we always look out for our children, trying to make the best decisions for their future. Academic reputation, school and class size, safety reputation, special programs, convenience, costs, religious and moral implication (in this order) are usually whats taken into consideration in choosing schools for these young impressionable kids.

With the deplorable state of our nation's educational sector, most parents are being forced to enrol their wards in private schools....schools initially percieved as meant for the elite. A colleague once said that the difference between the private schools and the government owned schools (i'm not sure which parameters we were using to make the comparison at that is so enormous, one actually feels guilty having her child in a government school. I totally agree with her! Though expensive, the benefits are sometimes worth the sacrifice! The downside, however, cannot be ignored:

School was out July 2010 for the summer holidays! Mr A usually sends his kids to the UK for summer but as most pockets were still recovering from the effects of the credit crunch/recession, he figured the kids would have to skip summer that year. He figured wrong!!! For days after he conveyed his decision to the kids, he was on the recieving end of the worst kind of silent treatment! Reason: How can Daddy not sponsor this trip? How would they face their peers on school resumption with no Jhand or Yankie gist? Bottom line: Days later, kids were en route to the UK; Daddy had less 3M in his coffers!

Sometimes, the blame lie with us...the parents. The often un-acknowledged but oh-so-present rivalry amonsgt parents can sometimes have them enrolling their kids in schools way above their financial capabilities. For every Grange School, there is a Halifield School ( Halified is not cheap......but it is much more affordable); for every GreenSprings School, there is a ChrisLand! Quality of education is what should matter and if that can be obtained from a slighty cheaper school, then why make an investment that would weigh heavy on the pockets? Why enrol a ward in Our Saviours because "they said its the best school and Ade's children school there na" and come resumption time, you channel "Eze Onye Agwana m", stomping around the house like a wounded elephant, while also murmuring about "all these bills" that has to be paid!

In my opinion anyways, be it Meadow Halls or Seat of Wisdom, private schools are tres expensive in Lagos. Ironically, population explosion is, to some extent, being curtailed as the modern day Nigerian man aspires to have just those two kids he can give the very best he has to offer...cant say I blame him! Cutting one's coat according to material, as against size, comes into play!! A child would grow to be a productive, financially responsible and happy adult, in the right environment......not necessarily an expensive one!!

This post was inspired by my 'son', Uchenna "Bobo" Ndibe-Okoye!!!


Taka said...

Nice one sis. I've been following your blog for some time now but i guess its about time i left a comment. I can relate to this post cos i went through all that while searching for a school for 'Zara in 2009. At some point, i started considering starting a school...(kedukwanu ebe afu capital for such a big
You are doing a good job here and i thoroughly enjoy how informal you put across these very important topics. Keep up the good work.
I'm still smiling at the 'eze onye agwana m' part...priceless.

Hazel said...

Tk darln, HOW ARE YOU????!! Our princesses nko? We miss y'all. I did serious "alanta" when i saw ur comment! Feels really good to know you follow this blog! Hugs + Kisses!!!!!