Parents in Calabar, Cross River capital have ascribed the low turnout on resumption day in schools to the present economic realities in the nation.
Some of the parents who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in interviews on Monday (Sept. 18) in Calabar said the situation was a perfect reflection of the hardship being witnessed in the country.
According to Mr Tony Akpan, a public servant, some of the schools like Unity Colleges have hiked their fees and this has worsened the situation for parents as the children resumed.
“Yesterday, I dropped my daughter in one of the Unity Colleges and the turnout of parents with their children returning to school was very low in comparison with previous terms, this is a reflection of the economic realities.
“Although the government decided to hand out palliatives but I believe the best way to handle the palliative issue was to channel it into subsidising education and health rather than giving rice.
“This because at the end of the day, if we are not careful, 50 per cent of these palliatives will go back to the politicians and not the poorest of the poor but if education is subsidised the masses will benefit,” he said.
Another parent, Mr Bassey Ita said children returning to school today is not easy because of the increase in the price of everything except the salaries of workers.
He recalled that Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River had declared that working days in the state would be reduced to three to reduce costs for workers, adding that it would be difficult for children to learn in three days what they ought to learn in a week.
“I don’t think children have that kind of assimilation capacity and we should remember that due to the present situation many of these children will be coming from home without eating,” he said.
In Margaret Ekpo Secondary School, one of the schools visited by NAN, the Principal, Pastor Cecilia Ogar, said the school need infrastructural development as the session commences.
Ogar said they need more classrooms to cope with the number of new children coming to register.
“While I appeal to the state government to look at the infrastructural development in our schools, I also ask that many bright children whose parents can’t afford the fees be assisted.
“This appeal is not to the government alone but to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and every Nigerian to assist the children, times are really tough,” she said.