Curbing Racketeering In School Materials!

Sending a child to school in the country now and living up to expectation with most, if not all, requirements is increasingly becoming a jigsaw puzzle for many parents and guardians. Getting admission in schools, buying prescribed didactic and other education materials like exercise and textbooks, uniforms and ensuring that the child eats in the morning and has something to take to school as well as measuring up with sometimes unannounced school needs, are daily dilemmas for parents. But they would do everything possible to stay afloat.
The rush for back-to-school loans from banks, coupled with other gymnastics that parents and guardians play to aptly prepare the children for school, tell of the importance they attach to education. Obviously so as education is investment in human capital, especially in a competitive world where illiterates and those with nothing worthy have little or no chance. Unfortunately, some in the academic chain have taken advantage of the apparent growing awareness on the importance of education to rather drain parents of scarce resources.  
Observably, stakeholders in the school chain are more and more pushing already hard-pressed parents to the wall with additional demands and businesses that, at best, impoverish them the more. In fact, the struggle for survival amidst mounting inflation characterised by price hikes, which are not only the problem of Cameroonians anyway, seem to have forced actors in the long school network in the country to rather seek solace in helpless parents and guardians.
The illegal sale of school materials within some school premises is a serious call for concern.  A circular signed by Trade Minister way back in 2009 warning against the sale of books and other school materials on campus is still being rubbished today with near impunity by some private school proprietors and managers. Government, in the release, made it clear to school authorities that exercise and textbooks, uniforms and other education materials must not be sold on campus, urging parents to purchase the gadgets only in markets and denounce defaulters. The respect of this prescription still leaves much to be desired. Most private schools do admission on campus and create side businesses in school uniforms,  badges, leisure and sports attires and books either within or adjacent the institutions wherein parents are obliged to buy all that is requested. Some even go as far as factoring the prices of all the materials into tuition for parents to pay and pick up the items. Needless talking about the prices which are everything, but customer-friendly compared to what is offered in the market. Here, there is neither room for bargain nor choice and quality is sometimes very doubtful. In the midst of these, most parents become victims of high prices charged for the materials while bookshop owners are crying foul against the practice that reduces their sales. 
Without exaggerating, the uniforms are often either under or over-sized and rarely give the pupils or students a fitting look. In certain instances, the fabric used is of very low quality and the sewing is all but solid. Experiences from students show that hardly did those uniforms last over an academic term without tearing or fading, thereby exacerbating the expenses for repairs or even the need to secure new ones altogether.  Even parents who have the possibility of acquiring better school materials elsewhere at even cheaper prices are forced to succumb to the whims and caprices of school authorities in their Shylock businesses. You are either forced to buy only within the school premises or pay in the money there and collect in prescribed shops belonging to the same authorities or to those who pay them kickbacks.  Some of them have christened the business ‘Package’, meaning you pay all in school and are directed to where the child will measure an already-sewn uniform, get a prefabricated and stamped sportswear and pullover as well as books and other gadgets needed in the institution.
This is real racketeering as teachers and school authorities are feeding fat on hapless parents who toil day and night with sometimes weak purchasing powers, but at least strive to guarantee a better future for the youngsters in whose hands their families and country’s future depend. 
Government’s decision to outlaw the sale of these items on campus was evidently to save the struggling parents who are instead duped in the business that doesn’t in a...



    List is empty.

Lead a Comment

Same category