11 Awesome Reasons Why Private Schools Are Expensive!

Primary School in Bida

Parents and other stakeholders have always wondered why tuition in private secondary schools are so expensive. The reasons may not be far-fetched.

The 2018 statistics from the Federal Ministry of Education shows that there are about 28,000 secondary schools in Nigeria. Out of this number, private secondary schools account for more than 50% (about 14,000 private secondary schools).

Due to the poor funding of public schools by government which has resulted in equally poor standard and ultimately poor products from these schools, private secondary schools have thrived in leaps and bounds.

Thus, we have hundreds of thousands of private secondary schools competing with each other. These schools target different market segments and thus charge various fees for their services. This could be as low as N3,000 per term in some villages to as high as N5,000,000 (Five million Naira) per year for some schools in big cities.

Five million naira (N5,000,000) per session for secondary education? What do they teach? You are tempted to ask so many questions. Why the high fees? Is this high cost for secondary education justifiable?

Jofegan International School
Jofegan International School Students at a Science Practical Session

There are many reasons why the cost of education in private secondary schools may be high. These are detailed below; amongst others:

  • Poor Educational Standard in Government Schools
  • Facilities Provided
  • Staff Salaries
  • Lack of Grant from Government
  • Development of Own Infrastructural Facilities
  • High and Multiple Taxation from Government
  • Introduction of Creative Activities in Private Secondary Schools
  • Small Class Sizes
  • Inflation and General Cost of Living
  • International Curriculum
  • Extra Curricula Activities

Let us look at each of these reasons to enable us drive the points home.

Poor Educational Standard in Government Schools.

The Nigerian Government has, no doubt, created an environment for private secondary schools to thrive. This is due to the poor standard of education in public schools.

The deplorable conditions in government schools make private secondary schools to thrive. No parent will want to take his ward to a school where students sit on bare floor in dilapidated structures to learn.

What about the poor quality and quantity of teachers? In the quest to give their children good education, parents rush to private secondary schools. This rush drives up the cost of private secondary schools.

Facilities Provided:

All private secondary schools strive to provide unique selling points for their schools. To give them competitive advantage.

These come in form of providing excellent facilities to enhance learning. Equipping schools with first class Science Laboratories, ICT Centers, Library, Sick Bay, E-Learning; amongst others cost a lot of money.

Some go as far as putting air-conditioning systems in their classes/hostels. The resources expended in providing and maintaining these facilities need to be recouped. Ultimately, they are transferred to parents through appropriate school fee charges.

Staff Salaries:

Good private secondary schools with high school fees ensure that quality teachers are provided. To be able to recruit and retain these teachers, they must be motivated.

Motivation is done mainly through good wages and other reward system. Staff salaries and allowances account for about 50% of total expenditure of schools. This influences the tuition fees of private secondary schools.

Lack of Grant from Government:

Though government has accepted private secondary school educational providers as partners in progress, she does so only in words. These school entrepreneurs are not given any grant to support their activities.

The idea of providing all facilities to guarantee quality education make private secondary schools expensive.

Development of Own Infrastructural Facilities:

The Nigerian Government hardly provides enabling environment for schools and other businesses to thrive.

Due to poor electricity supply, lack of water from public sources and poor access roads in the country, schools have to provide own infrastructural facilities. These add to cost of private secondary education.

High and Multiple Taxation:

 Schools are charged various taxes, levies and rates by all tiers of government- Federal, State and Local Governments. In some states there could be as many as 10 different taxes or levies to be pay on annual basis. They come in various names and amounts. Schools will transfer virtually all costs to parents thereby contributing to high school fee charges.

Introduction of Creative Activities in Schools:

To ensure that students are adequately prepared for the challenges of the future, many private secondary schools have incorporated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) activities into their school curriculum. This is in addition to other skill development programs.

Though private schools use these activities to differentiate their institutions from others, the costs expended are nonetheless transferred to parents.

Small Class Sizes:

Many good private secondary schools have small class sizes. The small classes mean that more teachers are employed. Why won’t this affect cost of private secondary school education?

Inflation and the General Cost of Living:

Schools are not living in isolation of what happens in the general environment. Inflation is high in the country. This affects the general cost of living. Of course, it has an effect on how much private secondary schools charge to cover their costs.

International Curriculum:

Some schools in Nigeria run the British or American curriculum. Payments in these schools are done in foreign currency. With very high exchange rates, this translates to a lot of money in Naira.

Extra Curricula Activities:

Some private secondary schools embark on excursions and other expensive extra curricula activities. Some of these costs are included in children’s school fees.

With all these facilities provided by private secondary schools can we really say that they are too expensive? On the final note; if you still believe that the cost of private secondary school education is experience, how much does ignorance cost?

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