The Sun News

Parents’ September fever here again

Economic hardship causes them cold as kids return to school

By Gabriel Dike, Faith Eze and Glory Eze

This is certainly a tasking and challenging time for parents and guardians as schools start the 2017/2018 academic calendar.

Their kids present long list of demands they require to start the new session.

Most university students are holding onto their list because of the current strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) nationwide that has disrupted academic activities.

Also, some parents already presented with lists are delaying implementation as a result of the industrial action.

Call it parents’ September blues, you are right. With the economic recession biting hard on families, parents are facing a major challenge of meeting the demands of their children as some schools resumed yesterday while others would throw open their doors next week.

Many school pupils including undergraduates made requests or drew up list of items they will require for the new academic session and have high expectations that their parents and sponsors would pick the bills, especially as most of them are compulsory. Those that have not received positive result keep mounting pressure, most using their mothers to get their father to provide the needed money to get the items.

Worst affected are parents with many kids/students in primary, secondary and higher institutions. Those we spoke with lamented the economic situation in the country and the difficulty in meeting the needs of their wards returning to schools.

Among the must-do items spotted by The Education Report are school fees, hostel/ boarding fees, textbooks, exercise books, bags, shoes, feeding allowance/pocket money, project money, uniforms/sports wears/clothes, transport fare etc.

Other demands specifically for polytechnics and universities are new phones, house rent for those living outside the campus, Internet connection, dues for students union, faculty and department, handouts, toiletries, flight ticket/transport fare and many more. It’s just like running another home.

Parent’s burden

A businessman, Mr. Donatus Ikechukwu, told The Education Report that many parents struggle to meet their children’s education needs due to the country’s biting economy. He said his two children in the university don’t seem to understand the situation and have presented lists for the new session.

Aside, the school fees for both, he will require about N250,000 to meet their other needs such as accommodation, foodstuff and sundry expenses. “My kids presented their long lists four weeks ago and have continued to remind me of their resumption date.

According to him, the kids put pressure on him through their mother but at the moment, I can only meet the demand of one of them in his final year. ‘’I have been expecting the list from them since they came back. Business at the port is poor but I will do my best to meet some of their demands,” he assured.

A single mother, Monica Okoduwa, said the beginning of a new semester or session is a nightmare because she has to make provisions for her 12-year-old son but disclosed that her business is not so rosy now as patronage has dropped because of the recession.

Okoduwa explained that her son, Joshua, has continued to ask when she would buy school items ahead of the resumption. He keeps demanding for new bag, shoes, uniform/sportswear, lunch packs and other items. I have assured him that those things will be purchased.’’

Mrs. Amarachi Anosike, mother of four children explained that her kids have drawn lists of items they need as schools resume, but however said ‘’the most important thing on the lists is their school fees, all the things in lists must be provided, but the situation of the economy is not friendly.”   
She explained that the things she provided them last session are not the same as now because things have changed. ‘’They are moving into new classes and their demands get higher with every new session.’’
‘’My expectations are for them to do well. While their teachers are expected to give them their best, we also hope governments should intervene in the education sector and provide the right incentives because things are going worse everyday. If the sector is good many parents will not send their children to private schools that are far more expensive.

Primary/secondary pupils

At the primary and secondary school levels, most of the items for private schools such as the recommended textbooks, uniform, exercise books and cardigan can only be purchased in the school.

Anosike Chinenye, 12 years old pupil of Micco College, Ojo, Lagos, said her parents promised to buy all of items needed but it will be one after another. The JSSII student disclosed that the number one priority on the list is the school fee and her parents promised to pay it once school resumes.
She explained that the way her parents respond to her list now is not the same way they did last term, because by now she would have had all the things she needed ready.

Six-year-old Monday Kufre of Green Light Foundation School, Ajangbadi Lagos, revealed that her school gave her the list at the end of last term.

For Obinmadu Akachukwu, of Basic III at the Diamond Franklin Nursery and Primary School, Obadore, Lagos, there is no problem at all because his patents have provided the items and even the ones he never asked for. He has a new pair of shoes, bag and textbooks but does not expect new uniform because he got new one last session.
He promised to make his parents proud at the end of the academic session as a way of showing appreciation.

Tertiary students

Victoria Amadi is a second year Mass Communication student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka who told Education Report that she has drawn up the list of things she would need in the new academic session saying she did that after her last examination, but hasn’t given it to anybody, because it is not yet exhaustive.

Most university students interviewed accepted that the lists presented to their parents await attention which is delayed because of the ASUU industrial action.

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