*Principal, teachers, parents lament bitterly
By; MKPUMA ENYINNA, Abakaliki
The removal of oil subsidy has affected the resumption of school in Ebonyi State as the turnout of students is very poor, with school principal, teachers and parents lamenting bitterly.
In a visit to Government Technical College, Abakaliki High school Presco, some students were seen cleaning the school environment in order to prepare for their lectures, while most of their teachers came out, getting ready for the new academic session.
Speaking with the Principal of Government Technical College , Abakaliki, Rev. Fr. Godfrey Ozogebe, he lamented bitterly over the removal of oil subsidy, saying that it has really increased the low turnout of students in the school.
Fr. Ozogebe, noted that parents are not finding it easy to pay for their children’s school fees and means of transportation has also brought untold hardship, stating that more students would have come back but many couldn’t as a result of the prevailing challenges.
Ozogebe further alleged that after the removal of oil subsidy, over 70 billion Naira was given to lawmakers at the National Assembly, while people are passing through hell to provide three square meals for their children and even to send them to school is becoming difficult.
He therefore, called on government to take urgent action to alleviate poverty in Nigeria, before it gets out of control.
`There is a big difference in the turn up of students today.The turn up is very low because of hardship. People are not finding it easy; parents are finding it difficult to pay their children’s school fees and transportation issues. We have a very low turnout because of hardship.They are ready to come back, but the wherewithal is not there. They can’t just come back without anything, it is a challenge we are facing.The number would have been more than this, if not for the hardship.
`Today is just cleaning, tomorrow we start teaching. I want to encourage parents to try as much as they can to start paying gradually. Since the removal of oil subsidy, you can testify that things are no more the same. Everything is very costly and I want to encourage parents to continue to do their best.
`Those of them in high offices should know that people are suffering.They should come here and see what people are passing through. It is untold hardship. As a principal, I know how people are suffering to train their children. Government should do something quickly, otherwise, things will get worse.
On her part, Mrs Ele Charity called on government to take urgent steps to address the economic hardship as it has affected many parents and children, saying that even the quality of education is gradually going down because of the removal of oil subsidy.
`We have resumed school today, but many children didn’t come to school because of current situation of our economy. It really affected school resumption because many students don’t have money to transport themselves to school. Many parents are finding it difficult to feed their children, talk more of bringing them to school. Government should do everything possible to come to our rescue,” she said.
An SS 2 student, Okechukwu Valentine from Government Technical College said he would have come back with more school materials, but could not do so because of the current economic situation of the country.
He urged government to do everything possible to come to their aid as it is affecting their academic activities.