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The $500 Monthly Virtual Lesson Fee for A Nigerian Secondary School

Atlantic Hall

Big people in Nigeria have unusual problems: they cannot just find more ways to spend money. Yes. after paying N4.5 million per child for annual tuition and a pandemic comes, the same school goes online, and then asks you to pay extra N195,000 (about $500) per month for virtual learning. In most other economies, students are expected to get refunds since they did not pay for Zoom classes. Of course, they did not consume school supplies, get additional office hours, etc. But in Nigeria, a school is punishing students with more fees.

The Board of Trustees of the Atlantic Hall has come under scathing attack from parents who describe the virtual lesson fees during the school closure as exploitative and unfair.

Atlantic Hall had imposed an initial monthly fee of N195,000 per student with effect from May...But an immediate protest by parents resulted in a N20,000 reduction to N175,000 as contained in a letter to parents dated May 10, a copy of which was obtained by this newspaper.

Many people with deep pockets here don't even know a thing about value for money, once they can afford it, they don't have problem with the charges. Of course there are reasons why it's so, not going into that right now.

Just yesterday, a teacher in one of the big primary schools here told me how the school has concluded plans to bill the parents for the recorded lessons they send over the web, which some parents haven't even accessed for their kids. And I was like, pay for what? Have the second term school fees been exhausted? If kids are not coming to school and you want to charge them more for web lessons, have you refunded the truncated term payment?

It happens everywhere in this country, not just in schools, value for money is never brought into the argument.

Even politicians spend public money on projects, and still make it look as though they are doing some favours to the citizens, so the latter is already incapacitated to question value for money.

Maybe the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) is overwhelmed, these are people we pay salaries from public purse, yet we struggle to know who they are really protecting.