School reopening: Stakeholders urge FG to harmonise academic calendar

STAKEHOLDERS in the education sector in Nigeria have called on the Federal Government to take steps towards unification of different academic calendars adopted by different schools across the country on resumption after the closure occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.

This, according to them,would prevent lowering of standards, quality of educational delivery and distortion in the academic calendar year.

Nigerian Tribune checks revealed that some schools skipped the second and third terms of the 2019/2020 academic session and immediately commenced the first term of the 2020/2021 academic session in what appears like automatic promotion for students.

Some others, however, on resumption did the third term and a two-week revision before starting the third term promotion examination.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration, for instance, said students were not expected to pay third term school fees upon resumption of schools, adding that the first and second term results would be used to promote the students to the next class.

The director FCT Department of Mass Education and the chairman re-opening of schools in the FCT, Dr Fatima AbdulRahman, said the FCT Administration had directed public and owners of private schools not to collect any fees for the third term.

While confirming that all the public schools in the territory had complied with the COVID-19 protocols and  the reopening order, she added that in order to assist the students to catch up with the time lost  to the pandemic, revision would be done for one week after which they would take their examination.

National President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Mr Yomi Otubela, expressed concerns over the development and called on the Federal Government to ensure unification of the different calendars so the students would be properly prepared for external examinations.

Speaking at a meeting with the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, Otubela said: “We note that varied resumption of schools after the closure occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic had made different states to be currently running different academic calendars.

“For instance, while some states are currently running third term of the 2019/2020 academic session, some states have already moved on to firstt term 2020/2021 academic session.

“While we feel this may not portend good development for our education, we want the Minister of Education to assist in the unification of these different academic calendars so that our children can be fully prepared to sit for external examination,” he said.

Chairman of Education Rights Initiative (ERI), Joseph Udah, warned that the future of the Nigerian youth should not be jeopardised by running crash programmes for children that would not add value to their education and academic performance.

He suggested the urgent need to harmonise the differences in school calendar for the good of the Nigerian children.

He added, however, that some schools were able to explore the online platforms to teach their students during the lockdown, while others, especially schools in rural areas, did not explore the online platform, adding that at the end of the day they would sit for the same external examinations be it common entrance and  the Junior Secondary School (JSS) examination, among others.

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