Sunday 9 September 2018

Happy School Fees Week

Happy School Fees Week
was thinking this morning..... about school fees. For the better part of last week, the most common greeting was 'Happy New Month.' Some time ago, a colleague of mine had expressed worry about this current fad of wishing people 'Happy New Month.' He considered it an unwelcome extension of the 'Happy New Year' greetings. He is worried that soon, it will extend to 'Happy New Week' and 'Happy New Day.' Since I have been ending my weekly write ups with 'Happy Sunday,' it should be obvious to all that I will have no problem with whichever way anyone choses to greet, as long as it stays positive. However, one emerging greeting that I still can't wrap my head around is 'Happy School Fees Week.'

Tomorrow, our children of school age will be returning to school after about two months of being at home for summer holiday. For some, these past two months have been very difficult because they have had to manage the excesses of the kids, a role that they are very happy to hand over to teachers and house parents in boarding houses from tomorrow. While many are happy that schools are resuming, they are, on the flip side, wondering how to raise the money to pay the school fees of their children. Someone might say, 'why should anyone struggle to pay the school fees of his children, afterall, it is not an emergency? They should cut their coat according to their material.' Hmm!!! You might be right.

While it is true that some can afford to send their children to Children's International School (CIS), Lekki Lagos, where you have to pay an acceptance fee of N2 million and yearly tuition of N2.5 million for nursery and N3 million for primary school, there are many who can't afford the N10,000 for some private schools. Yes, there are many that have no stress whatsoever to pay between N5 million and N7.5 million per year for their son or daughter to attend college at CIS or BIS (British International School) Lagos, yet some can't afford to buy school bags or books required for their kids to attend the free public schools.
Don't kid yourself, not everyone with children in public schools will be able to afford what is required to send the children back to school tomorrow. It is not about the fees but about your financial condition and consioucs planning. Only yesterday, Iread about the youthful looking traditional ruler of  Oke Ila Orangun, Osun State, Oba Adedokun Abolarin saying, 'The fear of children school fees has made me not to seek more Oloris.' Think about it, if the rich are afraid of school fees, why does the less privileged care less by having too many children than they can afford to train? Your guess is as good as mine.

Tell someone that can afford it, 'Happy School fees Week,' and he will say 'thank you,' but tell a parent that is yet to pay the fees of his children same and he will give you that look that the lame man gave to Peter and John in Acts 3:5. I imagined whether it really will be happy for many parents. According to UNICEF, Nigeria still has 10.5 million out-of-school children (the highest in the world), with 60% of that number in the north. While UNICEF acknowledged that Primary school enrolment has increased in recent years, they also said that many of those that enrolled will drop out of school early. Why do you think that is? Methinks, it is because many parents do not plan for the next tranche of school fees and some gamble with it. They wait until it has become an emergency. Imagine the new yesterday of one William Williams that won N9.7 million on sports betting platform BetKing. While celebrating, he said 'BetKing has contributed to paying my children school fees this session.' really? So you have to gamble to pay school fees? Hmm!!!

However, there are many that don't gamble and believe me, they planned, but hings did not just add up and they are in a dilemma. Their kids may drop ouot of school because they can't afford the school fees. Hence I see 'Happy School Fees Week' as a soothing prayer for all those sending their children back to school tomorrow. 

If you have no issues with school fees this season, wish someone Happy School Fees Week. But as you do so, take it one step further by really helping a struggling parent to be happy by paying the fees of his/her child or buy a school bag or books for a child. Or as a minimum, you can buy a pack of pencils and give to indigent children. Whatever it is, just make the week a happy one for parents sending their children back to school tomorrow. Psalm 41:1 says 'Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.'

Happy Sunday and Happy School Fees Week.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

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