The High Cost Of Schooling In Lekki & Environs [Nigeria]

Has anybody bothered to take a census of the number of Public schools on the Victoria Island/Lekki axis, even down the Lagos-Epe Expressway to Ajah and Environs? You will be forgiven if you think there are none. Little wonder private schools are dotted all over the landscape making brisk business which, in my estimation, is now in the multi million dollar range. Yet another dimension to this is the differentiation in the fees being charged by schools on this axis and elsewhere in Lagos. Cases abound of schools with multi campuses charging higher fees than they do elsewhere outside this axis. My child in elementary school probably pays per term about what i paid for my education throughout my undergraduate years, even if you add to it feeding fees, money fleeced from parents for fictitious handouts and fees and even factor in the inflation over the years.

school-children_0_5Perhaps, what is most worrisome is what you get for the money you pay. You would expect to get world class education for the “world class” fees you pay, right? But that is not always the case. Instances abound of falsification of records of students’ performances in a bid to impress parents that they are getting value for what they are paying for.

Those that had their elementary and high school education in the 1970s and 1980s would better appreciate the level of decline in our educational system. The glory days of the Federal Government Unity Schools (Federal Government Colleges, Queens and Kings Colleges, etc); State Government schools, including the former missionary schools (St. Finbar’s, St Gregory’s, Igbogi College, etc) are long gone. Even with the high level of rascality exhibited by students in these schools way back then, it was hard to find any private school that could touch these elite schools then.

The story has changed so much these days for these government schools and the private schools have cashed in – in a big way.

The Government seems to always find a reason to shy away from its responsibilities to the educational sector, leaving the citizenry in the hands of the promoters of these high priced schools.

Well, i guess i can only rant and rave. But why do i always feel this way everytime school fees for the kids is due?


  • Hmmm…….

    Where do I start from?

    A typical private school fees bill would have the following – tuition, books, uniform, sports, excursion, development levy, beginning/end of year party, after school activities, etc. I do not have any issue at all concerning some of these items; I have a few reservations on some while I vehemently disagree with some of the items. I don’t understand why parents/guardians should pay “development levies”. What is being developed? Should parents/guardians be brazenly levied to develop a school? Why can’t a proprietor look for alternative means of funding the development? Is there a point where students would no longer be charged development levies? Or the schools are in a perpetual state of being developed? Why does the school always have to make uniforms for students too? Are the fabrics and style exclusively made for the school such that one can’t get them in the open market? Let us even assume the school wants uniformity in all ramifications; is that why these uniforms come at a handsome premium too? If I decide that my child/ward shouldn’t go on some “wild goose chase excursion” or be part of a party where lewd lyrics would most definitely be played, does that make me a bad or anti-social parent?

    I do not have any issue with private school owners really. Rather, I salute their entrepreneurial spirit. Please, spare me the talk of schools being a social service and a not-for-profit venture. Also spare me the talk of having a passion for the little ones hence the setting up of a school. There is definitely passion involved in establishing these schools but the passion, most times, is profit-driven. My apologies, I don’t mean profit as in business profit but profit as in “staying in business/afloat profit”. Bullocks!

    Growing up, I could count the number of private schools in my neighbourhood on one hand but ironically now, I can count on the same hand how many of my neighbours have their wards in public schools, if any. Your parents had to be super rich (or at least rich) to send you to a private school. Private schools used to be very posh and with the very best of hands (teachers that set out to be teachers) but interestingly, some private schools now are worse than the worst of the public schools way back and with teachers that grudgingly took up teaching because no jobs were forthcoming and “man must wack”. There are still some very posh private schools now though, too many of them in fact. Sadly, the very best of hands which the schools of old (private and public) had are no longer there. My sincere apologies to the very good and passionate teachers that still abound. It is just that there are too many people who shouldn’t be teaching that we now have entrusted our wards education to.

    So, who is to blame? It is very easy to blame the Government. After all, its neglect of the educational sector (and so many other sectors) led to its near total collapse. Truthfully, I do not blame school owners in any way. Like I earlier said, I salute their entrepreneurial spirit. There exists a demand and they provided a solution. Whether the solution provided is the best that could have been provided is another discussion altogether. Do we as individuals have any blame? I think so. We (you and I, as part of the larger society) have encouraged the near collapse of education.

    Woe betides you if you told your parents that you would rather go in to study an education related course in the University. Asides trying to convince you why you should go study professional courses, they would also embark on several “dry-fast” sessions to ensure that the scales over your eyes are removed so that you can see well that there is no future in being a teacher.

    With almost everyone having that mind-set about education, how do we expect to get quality and dedicated teachers? Quite a number of people who ended up studying education related courses ended up being there not by their own volition. Most would have chosen the more “professional” courses while applying through JAMB but ended up with admission offers for education. Most accept the offer with the mirage of switching to a more professional course as soon as possible. Most never get the switch done and grudgingly accept their fates. Even when they leave school with their education degrees, most make up their minds never to teach. Most have their eyes fixed on the banks, oil companies, telecommunication companies, etc. With this scenario, who then are the teachers at the various schools that spring up constantly?

    Personally, I know a couple of teachers from close range (friends, classmates and extended family members) and I can authoritatively say that they all ended up with teaching jobs because they could not get their desired jobs. Truth be told, some of these people have good grades (Second Class Upper/Upper Credit). However, having excellent grades is very different from being a well-trained teacher. Most of these teachers are constantly in search of greener pastures and rightfully so.

    Back to the exorbitant school fees being charged; what options are available to parents? Definitely, public schools are not an option for now, and may never be given the way things are going right now. So, we are stuck with paying the high fees? Even for schools run by religious bodies?! Schools funded by the collective contribution of members. The category of schools managed by religious organisations is an issue for discussion on another day. Or do we all go get a bank loan to finance school fees? Quite a number of banks have this type of product/service. School fees financing. If bank loans are needed to finance elementary education now, what happens to undergraduate or postgraduate studies? World Bank to the rescue?

    My “aluta” spirit often wonders what would happen if during a PTA meeting, parents refuse vehemently to pay these outrageous fees and threaten to pull their wards out if the school’s management does not bulge. Tough one I guess. Doable too!

  • kazeem koleoso

    I went to one of those missionary schools and one thing I can definitely say (even as a semi-aje butter) of that age is that the present crop of private schools has nothing on those. I am not sure that they build character the way ours did, so parents, on that front, you are on your own. As for the high priced ghettoization going on with those schools and neighborhoods, small wonder the kids don’t know past their “door mot”. I do hope that the schools are also giving value for money to the people paying, but I am yet to be convinced that is for real.

  • What is sad is not the present state of education in this country. It is our general attitude towards the decline. We all fold our arms and which the educational sector go to the dogs. A government is a reflection of the people. Today ASUU is on strike grinding all federal and state universities to a halt.. but a glance at the twitter trending topic you would never know. We have our priorities all messed up in this country and that is the truth of it

Leave your comment