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    Private schools struggle amid rising diesel price

    The sudden hike in the price of diesel in Nigeria is taking a toll on private schools as they mostly rely on generators for their power supply and diesel-powered buses to convey their students.

    The price of a litre of diesel, which is deregulated in Nigeria, has jumped from about N288 per litre in January to N650-N700.

    Olushola Majiyagbe, a staff member of Graceville Schools, Ikeja in Lagos State, told BusinessDay that the school resolved to cut down by 50 percent the number of hours they run on generators.

    “We run the generator for four hours per day as against 8-10 hours. Besides, we have installed solar energy to take care of the nights,” he said. “At night, we ask the students to switch off air conditioners and make use of fans while on solar. That way, we have been able to navigate our ways around the disturbing development.”

    He said the school did not in any way increase the tuition fees, considering the economic challenges facing many parents and guardians.

    An insider in City Pride Schools said the school had reduced its usage of generators to two hours per day from the usual 4-5 hours.

    However, he explained that the students did not welcome the new development because it is making learning less effective.

    “The students complain of heat bitterly, and this causes distraction,” he said.

    Glory Akinsola, a teacher in a mission school, said her school was considering online classes because the cost of running the school buses and generator had surpassed the bills given to parents at the beginning of the term.

    “According to my boss, she was contemplating having three days of physical classes and two days of online classes in order to minimise the cost,” she said.

    For one of the administrators of Study Habit Schools, Okota-Lagos, the burden of running generators for 24 hours a day is unsustainable.

    Read also: High diesel cost: JAMB hikes mock exam service charge

    The source said, “Study Habit Schools run an e-learning system that makes it compulsory to have the generator on until the school hours are over.

    “Electricity service providers are not helping matters because of the problem with the national grid,” he said. “We hope that the federal government will intervene to save the private school owners from the economic burden of running education centres under this ugly situation.”

    Some of the parents who spoke with BusinessDay disclosed that they had received letters from their children’s schools showing an increment in fees.

    One of the parents lamented the increase, wondering how he was going to pay an almost 70 percent increase in fees for his three children in the school.

    “This is unacceptable; how on earth will a school do almost 70 percent increase in school fees without proper consultation with the parents?” he asked.

    Another parent said the school fees were increased by 25 percent as a result of the diesel hike to enable the school to cope with the general overhead cost of maintaining the school buses and generators.

    With the national power grid collapsing frequently in recent months, worsening the already poor power supply, many businesses, including private schools, have had to rely more on generators.

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