By Joy Odigie
Benin – Mr Jimoh Ijegbai, the Edo Commissioner for Education, says the ongoing online classes, being organised by some private schools in the state, do not signify the commencement of third term academic calendar.
Ijegbai in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Friday, said the ministry would announce a new third term academic calendar immediately the COVID-19 challenge was over.
“The ministry regulates school calendar and immediately this health challenge is over, we shall announce new calendar for schools,” he said.
He, however, noted that the state government would not allow any private school to exploit parents during the pandemic.
NAN reports that some private schools were alleged to be asking parents to pay the school fees of their wards, having started online classes.
A mother of three, Mrs Patience Imafidom, told NAN that she got a message from her children’s school, urging parents to pay the school fees of their wards before May 27.
The message, according to Imafidom, reads: “We write to inform you that the school is about to upgrade and intensify in online teaching and this can no longer be free.
“Therefore, for further participation, school fees should be paid.
“With effect from May 27, those that have not paid school fees will be removed from the various online teaching platforms.
“When you pay, please indicate your name, class and WHATSAPP number.”
Another parent, Mr Christopher Idehen, said it was unfair for schools to ask parents to pay for online teachings during the current pandemic.
Idehen said the methods of these online teachings had not been evaluated and approved by the state ministry of education.
Worried that parents had to buy the device and data that were being used to access the online teachings, he called on the state government to intervene in the issue.
“We thought my children’s school was only rendering a voluntary service with the online lessons, not knowing we would pay at the long run.
“We will prefer to pay school fees for lessons taught in a classroom setting, where our children can interact with the teacher and other children in the class,” he said.