‘Private schools not barred from offering online classes’

Private schools have not been barred from offering online classes in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This clarification follows a statement by the Ag Education Secretary, FCT Adminstration (FCTA), Umaru, which warned schools against resuming the third term online or “in any form.”

The statement reads: “The Education Secretariat wishes to remind school proprietors, parents and the general public that the directive closing all schools at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic explicitly stated that this directive was in effect “until further notice” which implies that no academic activities in all schools in any form shall commence until a notice to reopen is approved and conveyed by the Secretariat.

“The Implication of this is that when the schools will be reopened, adequate notice of the fact that 2nd term was inconclusive will be factored into the academic calendar which will dovetail into the 3rd term accordingly. Any action taken otherwise is likely to negatively distort the academic calendar of the schools involved.

“School proprietors are therefore, advised to maintain the status quo and keep their schools closed and not re-open in any form while they await further directives from the FCTA. Violators of this directive will face the full wrath of the law.”

However, many schools expressed concern that they were being barred from organising online classes.

Founder of the Concerned Parents and Educators (CPE) Network, Mrs. Yinka Ogunde, said the group of over 150,000 parents and educators was concerned that there would be a learning gap and private schools would be unable to fulfil their financial obligations to their workers.

“We however believe that learning must go on and must be encouraged at all levels. This does not mean that the third term must commence immediately but schools and parents who can afford the additional expenditure of online classes must not be discouraged. This is the path to the future. The world is being transformed and we must ensure we raise children that will understand the dynamics of this change,” she said.

When The Nation sought clarification from the Public Relations Officer for FCT Administration Education Secretariat, Mr Kabir Musa, he said private schools had not been barred from e-learning.

“We are saying schools have not resumed for the third term. But we are not saying schools cannot engage their pupils in meaningful activities like e- learning online. Schools are not allowed to charge fees online and call it fees for third term. When schools are to resume, we will factor in the security situation and announce the start of the third term at the appropriate time. But regarding charges for e-learning that is based on an arrangement between schools and parents,” he said.

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