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Burden Of Fuel Subsidy Removal On Students: Cooperative solutions for private school proprietors and parents, by Dr Abdullahi Saliu Ishola

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Burden Of Fuel Subsidy Removal On Students: Cooperative solutions for private school proprietors and parents, by Dr Abdullahi Saliu Ishola

Perhaps for the first time, most Nigerians (if not all) now see fuel subsidy removal and its consequences as a reality they must now brace up with. It is a situation that affects every section of Nigerian life, socially and economically. It is indeed a good case study of a socio-economic problem to which socio-economic solutions are needed. One sector whose stakeholders would be badly touched is the private schools. What would be the way out for them?

Without going into details, I set out to proffer some cooperative solutions which may be adopted by both proprietors and parents of students of those private schools. It is a call for reflection.

COOPERATIVE SOLUTIONS

The cooperative approach is still grossly under-explored in Nigeria in finding solutions to many socio-economic problems in the country. This explains why even the CBN would hardly involve cooperative societies in its financial inclusion agenda. The truth is that cooperative paths can be effective in many ways. Let us look at how private schools can find a way out of the current situation through the cooperative approach as suggested below.

Cooperative Transport System

Except for all boarding private schools, most private schools always provide transportation services to their pupils. It is not uncommon to see two or three schools located close to each other separately coming to pick up their respective pupils from the same area even when such pupils are not significant in number. It was a sheer waste of resources.

It is now time for private schools that are not so distant from each other within 5km to come together and engage in a cooperative transportation system.

They should carry out a proper survey of their various students coming from the same or close vicinities and outsource their transportation services to one another in a mutually beneficial manner.

For instance, all private schools in Ilorin may want to designate themselves variously based on their locations into SCHOOL A1, A2 up to 10. Then followed by B1-B10 etc.

Similarly, their students’ locations can also be identified as RA1-RA10, etc. Where a student located at Area RA1 is attending a school, SCHOOL C10 located at Area RC10, instead of SCHOOL C10 coming to pick up its students from this area, it may be outsourced to any school coming from that area to its area to bring them.

Adequate measures must be put in place to guard against child rights violations and abuse of the Cooperative Transport System. CCTV cameras should be installed and monitored by a committee.

Cooperative Filling Stations

More than ever, this is the right time for private schools to think of having a joint filling station in a cooperative way. They can make parents of their students invest in it. This way they can provide for themselves subsidies which the government could no longer provide.

Cooperative Bicycles Services to Students

Another beautiful innovation that private schools may think of is to provide bicycles to their students, especially their secondary school students in a cooperative manner. Each secondary school may be required to buy 10-20 bicycles. Their respective students who subscribe to this service would be required to pick up bicycles at various schools. The closest school to a student’s destination shall be its pick-up and parking location.

On this, the partnering schools must not take the road safety of the student beneficiaries for granted.

Cooperative School Fees Savings Scheme

There is no doubt that the hardship of the new subsidy removal will tell so much on many parents. This will result in increased fee payment defaults, while it may force some parents to withdraw their wards. Either way, the private schools will be at the receiving end. To guide against this, private schools should embrace school fee savings schemes. Through this, parents can be allowed to be paying their ward’s fees in a saving manner be it on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis. This can cushion the effect of a hike in other expenses they may bear due to hike in the fuel price and avoid owing the school or withdrawing their children. Again, on these terms, the school can also detect earlier any defaulting parent rather than allowing such parent to have become indebted to the school with highly accumulated unpaid fees.

Parents Teachers Cooperative Society

It is a good time for every school or a group of schools to register a cooperative society for their teachers and parents. The society can be a good platform for the school management, teachers and parents to mutually and collectively address their common socio-economic challenges that affect the interest of the schools and students. Through the cooperative, parents and teachers, as members, can be patronising the businesses of their cooperative for their respective benefits and also generate incomes to assist them in fulfilling their obligation towards the school and students better.

CONCLUSION

The current regime of fuel subsidy removal in Nigeria has indeed opened doors for intellectual engagement. We must all continue to think about finding workable solutions to the problem. Thus, an attempt has been made in this write-up to express some views on what private school proprietors and parents can do in a cooperative manner to avoid being weighed down by the situation.

Dr Abdullahi Saliu Ishola is a specialist in Islamic Social Finance Law and Practice. His areas of research interests include Waqf, Islamic Cooperative Law, Applied Islamic Law. He is an Islamic Socio-Economic Solutions Developer and Practitioner. He can be reached via asishola1@gmail.com or +2347038998357 (WhatsApp only).

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