PRESS RELEASE BY THE CONCERNED PARENTS AND EDUCATORS INITIATIVE (CPE)
COVID-19 AND EDUCATION.
Don’t stop schools from offering online classes!
This is certainly an unusual time and every sector is trying to make sense of the Pandemic and develop coping strategies.
We feel compelled to voice out our concern given the discordant tunes emanating from the Education sector. Many government leaders in education have begun to respond to various actions in the sector. We are worried that these responses are so varied that they may not provide enough guidance to all of us.
The Commissioner for Education in Lagos has stated that the third term of this academic session has not begun. She, however, advised schools to engage with parents to meet two important needs:
- Mentally engaging children to shorten the gap of learning whenever schools eventually reopen.
- Raising funds in private schools to meet financial needs such as paying staff.
We think this is a progressive and realistic decision.
You may also have seen the response of the Ag. Secretary for Education in Abuja. It forbids schools from re-opening “in any form” during this period and informs of the FCTA’s plan to “introduce e-learning platforms to include lessons on radio and television.”
While we anticipate responses from other government leaders in education, it is important to remind them of the importance of inclusive decisions.
The private sector in education more than fills the gap in Nigeria; it provides opportunities to the children who live in isolated communities and would otherwise have no access. It provides globally competitive platforms at the high end and showcases what the Nigerian child can do. It provides for the international community by absorbing children of expatriates who bring certain required skills to different aspects of our economy.
How then is the private sector not considered in our decisions?
How is the government not providing bailouts to the private schools so their staff can be paid?
Is anyone listening to the cry of this sector that provides for at least 35% of Nigerian children?
Or do they not matter?
We want to call on the Minister of Education and all Commissioners of Education to work closely with private Educators and parents on this issue in the best interest of the Nigerian child. We believe that the Government must act in a way that shows consideration for all our Children.
For several decades, the Private education sector has effectively complemented the effort of the Government to provide education for all. This is a service that must be taken into consideration at this time and we must all work in the best interest of our children.
We commend the Government for taking steps to ensure the safety of all our children and we agree that everyone must wait till we get the “all clear” message before opening the doors of our Schools.
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.
Finally, we commend the radio/television initiative of Government but we hope that individual Schools will also be encouraged to find ways of staying connected with their pupils/students at this time
We implore the Government, to support online learning and allow Private Schools to continue to seek creative ways of engaging their students
God bless Nigeria!
For Concerned Parents and Educators.