By Monsuru Olowoopejo
Worried by the surge in coronavirus cases in Lagos, the State Government has disclosed that there is no plan to reopen private and public schools for the return of academic activities in the state.
It added that the rather than reopen schools and endanger the lives of students and pupils, exposing them to possibilities of contracting coronavirus, efforts would be intensified on the ongoing free teachings on various media, especially radio and television.
The Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, who disclosed the government stance on reopening schools to continue the Third-term academic session in the state in a statement made available to our correspondent, urged proprietors aiming to commence academic session for third-term amid coronavirus outbreak to abandon the plans.
“The Ministry wishes to state categorically that all schools in Lagos State remain closed and have not yet been opened for the third term. The State continues to offer free teachings on various media, especially radio and television.
“It will continue to improve on the educational offering of its distance learning programmes. We are pleased that students and pupils across private and public schools are taking advantage of this free service. Plans are also underway to ensure that our children in public schools are able to complete their term whenever the lockdown is lifted”, she added.
While stating that the government was aware of the challenges of staff wages and others confronting the school owners during lockdown, Adefisayo urged the proprietors to persevere and adopt the online teaching strategy to keep their students busy while staying at home to avoid contracting coronavirus.
As part of the strategy, the commissioner hinted that some secondary schools in the state have commenced online teaching to engage their students and charges at a discount rate on existing tuition fees while some schools were charging full tuition fees.
“Parents are concerned about the cost to them of this programme, ranging from fees charged by schools to cost of data and devices as well as the cost of fuelling generators to ensure steady electricity power supply. Parents also have to supervise online teachings to guard against the exposure of children to pornography, in addition to online harassment and bullying.
“The Ministry calls for continuous dialogue between school administrators and parents. We are aware that most parents are not working and earning money at the moment. We are also aware that schools continue to incur costs as teachers and other members of the staff have to be paid for providing online teaching. Furthermore, the schools, in some cases, will have to purchase devices for teachers and provide them with data to prepare for the daily teaching activities.
“In view of the aforementioned, we ask that schools consult extensively with parents and find a win-win solution that will be acceptable to all stakeholders”, Adefisayo added.