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Parents lament textbooks racketering in private schools

By Elizabeth Uwandu

Back in those days, textbooks used by our seniors were readily available for us to use as we progressed especially for those who couldn’t afford new ones. But today, the case is no more the same. I now buy text books for my last born every session even when there is a brother way ahead. He can’t use the books the brother used. Does this mean that nowadays textbooks are to be used one off? Lamentation of a parents,

As school resume, while it mark joy for pupils and students entering new classes or stages in their academic life, the reverse seem the case for parents especially those whose wards will be enrolling in Basic One, Junior Secondary School, JSS one and Senior Secondary School, SS are not only groaning the pains  of paying fees for new session but what they described as extortion in the purchase of textbooks.

The parents who lamented that despite the economic recession school owners, especially private run allegedly connived with publishers to increase the amount paid on the purchase of textbooks by claiming to have revised the previous editions. A move they said have warranted untold hardship and stress.

Condemning the trend where parents are compelled to buy textbooks for their wards already been bought before for an elder sibling, Mrs Yetunde Anjuwon Olatunji , a parent described the move as   wickedness. Her words, “ It wickedness on the part of schools and publishers to compel parents to buy textbooks already the elder sibling has and is in good shape. I remembered back in the day that we had to use our siblings textbooks. They got to teach us before we even resumption. We learned to share and take responsibility for using and caring for our textbooks, including excise books cause . As we know our younger ones will need them. Not so today, most textbooks are been torn off by our wards having personalize them as theirs only. “ said Mrs Olatunji

Mr Oluwaseunayo Agboola, a Programme Analyst II (Documentation and Communication) at  Insight Health Consulting, questioned why younger siblings could not used elder siblings textbooks.

“ Back in those days, textbooks used by our seniors were readily available for us to use as we progressed especially for those who couldn’t afford new ones. But today, the case is no more the same. I now buy text books for my last born every session even when there is a brother way ahead. He can’t use the books the brother used. Does this mean that nowadays textbooks are to be used one off? Lament Mr Agboola.

For Ajai Sadeeq Aramide , it was painful that her daughter could not use the same textbook her elder brother used. “I had the same problem, the texts used by my son could not be used by my daughter who is directly behind him in class. The figures in the maths texts were changed and in the English text, the comprehensions passaged were reconstructed so I had to buy new ones. “ she said.

The alarming rate of textbooks for Nursery pupils

For Mr Megbuwawon Anthony, an Auditor, the current trend where parents of kids in Nursery classes were compelled to buy textbooks that amounted to huge cost was frustrating.

Venting his displeasure on Concerned Parents & Educators platform, the father said this, “ Dear fellow parents, there is something that baffles in nowadays schools. My little boy, who is 2+ and will complete 3 by December was supposed to start school this September. The bill he was given as a starter was N45 000 (all inclusive) where he was  charged N15,000 for textbooks, which made to laugh because. I wonder what kind of books a 2years plus kid will buy to read? Even, his elder in a boarding school did not buy N15,000 books. Yet he gets all his purchased.” lamented Mr Anthony

Move by school owners and publishers to make money from parents

Mrs Ronke Ibrahim , a parent based in Abuja said school owners used the guise of selling textbooks to enrich their pockets as they increase the amount those textbooks cost in the market. “The fact is that these textbooks are not that cost in bookshops, but when it get to schools, we are using two textbook money to buy one. This is very frustrating”Mrs Ibrahim lamented.

textbooks

Corrobparating Mrs Ibrahim’s claim of school owners perchance to make money from parents, Mrs Funmilola Olajide-Olu , said some schools even went to the extent of inflating the actual market price of the textbooks. “ I think it’s time we reverted to the days of parents getting books themselves, however they can, without the school’s interference. These schools won’t just stop milking parents Disappointingly, the market value of the supplies might just be half the charge given by the school.

Questioning the rationale of parents mandated to buy such books from schools, the worried parent asked,”  Do schools really have to get books on behalf of their students when the books are available in the open market?

Mrs Helen Essien, a Legal Practitioner and an educator , the guide of making textbooks compulsory for parents to buy for their wards was a means to enrich the coffers of publishers.

Her words, “ The publishers are the culprits. They come up with all sorts of versions: new version, edited version, revised version, UBE version, etc. In some schools the fees cover school books and they’re just not interested if you already have the books at home. Very unfair and insensitive in these hard times!

Continuing, Mrs Essien added that rather than spend money on revising textbooks every now and then, the money and energy should be spent on teachers’ training. She posed this question, “ Were these textbooks not up to date in the 60s, 70s and 80s? We were sharing with our siblings and cousins as opposed to now when it’s reviewed every single year.

“Rather than revise books every year, how about retraining the teachers to teach  the updates? The school and Education Board are also guilty at times. The literature books are never the same. I have literature books archive in my house because books keep changing. “ noted the legal practitioner

 

The cost of textbooks necessary

According to Mr Clement Chukwudifu, Deputy Head of Schools, Lead British International School, Abuja, explained that the compulsion of buying textbooks yearly became necessary due to the changes in technological advancement.

According to the academician, “  If textbooks are “reviewed” every three years (owing to the high rate of human development and technology) as that is the best practice and you space the birth of your children at about three years, your next child cannot use the books  of the elder one because they would have been revised or reviewed.

“ On the other hand, the publishers must be up to date or they sink as the same parents will cry out that the books are not keeping pace with technology and advancement.” observed Mr Chukwudifu

Parents beg for government intervention

This is not the same with Public/ Government schools. I am a teacher in a secondary school in Lagos state. The government of the state provided some books free to students. Kudos to the government. Students pass the books to fellow students as they climb the ladder. The problem is with private schools.

I will suggest that private schools should go with the stipulated guidelines on the approved text books. With this, parents will be sure that they will not be buying text books every year. Your children will be using the ones their older ones used. Discuss with the owners of the private schools your children attend.

Parents whose children are in Public schools do not have such complaints.

There is no need to blame the government for not coming in to save the situation. She played her part you made the choice.

Exercise patience and keep praying. God can still do something

 


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.