By Adesina Wahab
By now, primary, secondary and technical colleges across the country would have concluded the 2019/2020 academic session with all the attendant fun. Prize giving day, end of the session party and other related activities would have been held, but that is not to be, no thanks to the coronavirus disease that is ravaging the country and which has led to schools, up to university level, being shut.
Most of the schools were yet to conclude second terms when they were shut last March and the thought of concluding it and/or resuming for the third term to complete the session did not arise in many instances.
While public schools stopped all academic activities, some private ones found a way through online teaching. Some started by using Whatsapp, while others go for Google classroom and others.
Some schools in Lekki area of Lagos moved to e-learning and charged between N200,000 and N400,000 per student. They even engaged the services of despatch riders to take materials to and from students’ homes.
Speaking during a recent meeting with parents of students in her school, Mrs Gladys Grimes, the owner of Saint Gladys Primary School and Grimes College in Alagbado, Lagos, said pupils and students must be engaged one way or the other to sustain their interest in education. ‘Charging fees for such services depends on locations and the ability of parents to pay.
“We cannot do so here, as we understand our terrain and we don’t want to put our parents under undue pressure. We started using WhatsApp to teach our students and asked parents to pay just N2,500 per student.
“We did that for some weeks and now since it appears schools may not reopen as quickly as expected, we want to migrate to Google Classroom for our secondary school students and we are only charging N18,000 per student and those in JSS3 and SSS 3 are exempted.
“This is because they are expected to have completed their school fees payment before now. The new approach may serve as third term and for the promotion of the students to the next class,” she said.
Grimes opined that there was nothing spectacular if none of the usual ends of the year activities did not take place, saying the health and safety of students, teachers and others were important.
With the phased reopening of schools starting with final secondary school students this week in most parts of the country and the attendant fixing of dates for examinations by the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, the National Examinations Council, NECO, and the National Business and Technical Examinations Board, NABTEB, most states may eventually cancel the third term of the 2019/2020 academic year.
This is because the examinations to be conducted by the aforementioned bodies will run through this month and November this year.