Kogi: Agitation for cancellation of third term spreads

Kogi: Agitation for cancellation of third term spreads

Saturday, October 3, 2020 9:39 am

Gov. Yahaya Bello

Richard Elesho/ Lokoja

Parents and guardians in Kogi State, have appealed to Gov. Yahaya Bello, to cancel the third term for 2019/2020 session to enable their wards commence first term for 2020/2021 academic session as it is being done in other States of the federation. Parents in Kingdom Heritage Model School, KHMS, owned by the Living Faith Church became the front for what is obviously a statewide demand.

The Parents Teachers’ Forum (PTF), Kingdom Heritage Model School (KHMS) Lokoja branch at an emergency meeting issued a Communique urging the Governor to cancel the third term in view of the difficulty they face about school fees payment.

The communiqué which was jointly signed by the branch’s PTF Chairman, Deacon Dare Solomon; Secretary, Mr James Joseph; and over 70 Parents and Guardians present at the meeting, implored the governor to cancel the third term to avoid double payment of school fees under three (3) months in a stretch.

According to the parents, if the governor hears their cry and cancel the third term and allow schools in the state to commence first term for 2020/2021 academic session, it would serve as palliatives to parents and guardians due to the negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic on their wellbeing.

The parents, therefore made passionate appeal to the governor whom they believed would grant their requests, to save them of the untold hardships of paying double school fees within 3 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, alternatively, the parents went a step further to appeal to the Education Commission (EC) of KHMS Lokoja, to liaise with appropriate quarters to reduce third term school fees by 50 per cent considering the effect of Covid 19 on the economy of the state and the country at large.

The parents and guardians also appealed to the Executive Secretary, Education Commission’s network of Nursery and Primary Schools, Pastor (Mrs) Faith Oyedepo, to kindly approve their request for 50% payment for third term school fees for their wards in the eventuality that the governor did not rescind on his decision.

The Communique reads in part: “In view of the effect of Covid 19 pandemic on individuals, organizations, Kogi State Government and the world at large, the PTF hereby make the following request:

“The parents/guardians appeal to His Excellency, Gov. Yahaya Bello, through the Education Commission (EC) to cancel Third term and allow our pupils to resume for a new academic session as it is being done in other states such as Ogun, Benue, Lagos, Edo etc.

“If the request above is not achievable, the parents hereby call on the Education commission ( EC)to liaise with appropriate quarters to reduce third term school fees by 50%( Half) considering the effect of Covid 19 on the economy of the state and the country at large.

“Parents have unanimously agreed that the above raised points should be looked into as soon as possible so that we may not be forced to keep our wards at home due to lack of funds pending when new academic session begins.

The Kogi State Government had on September 1st announced the reopening of all schools from Monday, September 14th. The schools were closed on March 23rd because of the then ravaging Coronavirus disease pandemic.

As parents and students were warming up for resumption, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Wemi Jones announced a review of school calendar. The review allowed for two-week completion of the second term and the beginning of third term on September 28th. The term is to run till end of the year while a new session starts thereafter.

Since the review, many parents have been complaining about the burden of raising school fees in quick successions. One of the parents who claimed to have a child in Junior Secondary School, JSS 3, Idowu Leke opposed the reviewed calendar as insensitive.

“My son is in JSS 3. He has already written the junior NECO exam without the so called third term. Now after writing the all important exam you want him to come for third term and want me to pay. Does it make sense?. I believe government needs to urgently review its position.

Voices like Idowu’s were many but not aggregated. Another parent in a private school, Ela Ojonugwa whose ward has also written the junior WAEC said he was considering asking the child to stay at home for the controversial third term to avoid double payment “but then they came with Basic Education Certificate Examination, BECE.

Now that the agitation is taking shape, it is left to be seen how Governor Yahaya Bello will respond to it.

Jones in a conversation had said the government’s concerns were about the academic performance of the students. He noted that even with a normal academic calendar of three terms, performances were poor and wondered what could happen when abridged.

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