Mr. Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President on May 29th, 2023 during his inaugural speech scrapped the payment of fuel subsidy. That paved the way for an incessant rise in the price of commodities. A situation that has led to a rise in the cost of education with many schools increasing fees while commuting to school is getting difficult as a result of the rise in transportation fares.
The struggle with the high cost of school fee, transportation, feeding, and other basic necessities of life have forced a good number of parents to withdraw their children from distance school to nearby ones. Some who cannot afford the current cost of education have opted to keep their children at home, denying them education.
This cut across primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Students in tertiary institutions are not only faced with a hike in fees but with the terrible challenge of affording high costs of transportation, feeding, and accommodation.
The practice in Nigeria is that tertiary institutions admit a huge number of students without adequate hostel accommodation, therefore subjecting a good number of them to outsourcing accommodations outside the school from landlords who build houses for rent (business purposes).
Faced with accommodation challenges, many students are forced to live a far distance from the school environment and commute to attend lectures. The high cost of transportation as a result of fuel subsidy removal has become a huge financial burden to many students, exposing them to suffering that is making learning highly unconducive.
Students are not the only ones facing this challenge, many lecturers cannot afford to fuel their car and transportation fare to school. Some schools have since adjusted lecture hours with some lecturers asked to visit classes once or twice a week. A situation that has made teaching and learning difficult for both students and their teachers.
With the impact of fuel subsidy on education, a country like Nigeria with a high illiteracy rate, with a United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report showing about 20 million populations not in school, clearly, the country faces a dim future.
Before the fuel subsidy removal, Nigeria’s education was already failing, the current situation as we have seen means that the country’s education is heading to a total collapse. A situation that has dire consequences for the nation’s growth and development.
Nigeria must immediately address the corruption in the fuel subsidy regime and reinstate it. We must protect our education if we care about building a society with competent human capital development that will make us compete among the comity of nations.
Queen Nelly James, MAWA-Foundation Communication & Campaign Officer