Schools in Uganda are opening next week after more than two years of being locked. Most good schools have hiked the school fees and many parents now find themselves in a financial dilemma.
The following tips may help to deal with the financial stress.
- Child planning. Don’t have too many kids who will burden you with responsibilities like school fees. I know the African culture encourages producing many children but times have changed. Those days the community would help to raise the children. Now you suffer alone! If you already have too many kids the only advice I have for you is just to work harder!
- Take the kids to schools you can afford. I know you would wish to put your children in the best schools available but if you can’t afford, then you will be stressed. Resist the peer pressure to opt for expensive schools.
- Establish an education fund. Set up a unit trust account and save regularly towards the kids education. Make it a joint account with your spouse so none of you can touch the money without consultation.
- Get education insurance. Get an education insurance plan for your kids future education.
- Obtain bridge financing. If things are tight get some short term financing from friends, banks, SACCOs, etc. to help you through the stress. However don’t get addicted to loans.
- Try home schooling. There is a growing number of parents who have embraced home schooling and it’s seems to be working for them. It’s much cheaper than a traditional school though requires full time commitment from one of the parents.
- Get a school nearby. When you take the kids to a nearby school you save on fuel and shuttle fees. The kids can also walk to school and get some exercise in the process.
- Start your own school. For instance if you are a stay at home mother, you can mobilize your neighbors and start a home school. You’re solving a problem while generating some income as well.
- Skip early school. Consider skipping early school. Some of us didn’t go to nursery and have turned out no so bad after-all. Kids don’t learn much from baby class. They only learn how to play and socialise which can all be done in a good home setting.
- Try government schools. They are often cheaper though not very competitive. You can supplement the public education with a home schooling program.
Education is one of the biggest expenses for any household and should be planned for deliberately. Without this, a household will be constantly stressed with school fees!