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Parents groan over fees, schools record low turnout  

Imran Musa
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TODAY makes it the end of the first week of resumption in Lagos State and some other states after the six-month coronavirus lockdown. Coping with having to maintain the COVID-19 guidelines in schools remains a major challenge to teachers who have to ensure pupils comply.

Again, school owners have to monitor every activity and everyone in the school to ensure that there is an appreciable conformity. In the same vein, the pupils and students see the use of face masks as an intrusion to their freedom of expression and social interaction.

Although reports said there was a decline in reported cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, it was however, important to continue to obey all the NCDC rules no matter how challenging they were since there was no approved cure or vaccine yet.

Furthermore, most parents complained about school owners insisting that they pay fees immediately. A parent of St. Jude’s Private School, Festac, who claimed anonymity lamented that the school asked parents to pay a sum of N65,000 for promotional exam to the next class, while they gave a two-week deadline for payment of fees.

“My children’s school asked us to pay N65,000 before they would be allowed/promoted to the next class. This is quite uncalled for; they still gave us a two-week ultimatum to pay up their school fees and the least I’m paying for each child is N167,000.00. They are very inconsiderate,” he said.

Another parents, Mr Ebun Ogundipe, who does not want the name of his children’s school mentioned, said, “My children school decided that we must continue with the second term examination for this first week. After this week, they will now resumed first term in their new classes next Monday. They also insisted that we write an undertaken on when or what amount we would pay the second term fee owed.”

She explained that it was such an excruciating experience as the price of every item in the market had increased.

“Even the school bus fee has been increased by N5000 to any designation. When I asked the proprietor, he simply said fuel price has been increase. Prices of snacks, drinks, food, provisions we provide for the children have all been inflated. So, we are just managing,” she said.

Some of the school owners also lamented the low turnout of their pupils and students.

The proprietor of a private school; Jorafgate, Mr Raphael Oshoma, said that a huge percentage of pupils had yet to resume.

Oshoma said, “I think some parents are still skeptical about resumption. Some have made up their mind that they will resume maybe next year. Also, some parents are just putting things together in terms of preparation for resumption.”

Meanwhile, some schools have not also open for physical resumption yet.

Director, Le Poshe School, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, RonkePosh Adeniyi, who spoke with The PUNCH, said, “our parents voted for online school for the first month. We did not plan a physical resumption yet. We’ve done our Quality Assurance training ordered by Lagos State.

While speaking on the impact of COVID-19 on learning outcomes, a private school teacher, Mr Peter Dugbo, advised his colleagues to be patient with learners who had been kept at home for months.

“They should do a thorough catching-up of lost grounds before delving into the scheme of work for the new term. Teachers should be more empathic in their dealings with the obviously traumatised crop of learners in this COVID-19 era. They should be very observant and more understanding,” he advised.

Source: PUNCH

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