Lagos warns schools: Don’t extort parents for online teaching of students

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The Lagos State Government has reacted to the resumption of privately-run schools in the state via online teaching.

The state reacted to the development following complaints by some parents over the charges for the online classes by some schools and the data deployed for the lessons.

Some schools were also said to have categorised the lessons as part of the tuition for the regular school for the 2019/2020 third term academic session.

The Lagos State Government had in March directed all schools to shut down on March 22, 2020 following the spread of the Coronavirus Disease into the state.

In a statement on Wednesday by its Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, the Lagos State Government said the complaints brought up by parents were issues that they should resolve with the schools.

Adefisayo said as far as the State Government was concerned, schools in the state remain shut.

She said: “The attention of the Lagos State Ministry of Education has been drawn to the plans by some private schools in the State to resume academic activities for the third term of the 2019/20 session by online teaching. This is with effect from Monday, 27th April, 2020.

“As we are already aware, the State is presently on lockdown imposed by the Federal Government over the Covid-19 pandemic. The Ministry regards the “resumption” by schools as a strategy for ensuring that students continue to learn while the school calendar continues as planned.

“Please, note that the third term resumption remains postponed until directives to the contrary.

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“Most schools are charging for this online service; often at a discount on existing tuition fees while some schools are charging full 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.

“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.”

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