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Stakeholders kick against Sanwo-Olu’s schools resumption sanction threat

Parents hit by high cost of living as schools resume

Education stakeholders and shareholders in Lagos State have expressed their disappointments by the state government’s stance to sanction schools that failed to comply with its directives to reopen on January 4, 2022.

The Lagos State government had on December 31, 2021, directed all public and private primary and secondary schools in the state to resume for the second term in the 2021/2022 academic session on Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

Josephine Adebowale, a school owner disclosed to BusinessDay that though she had not received any official document from the state on the issue, however, she thinks the state is over-reacting, which according to her is not good.

“My take is that the government is overlooking more important issues than schools reopening and closing dates.

“Why are they not having the same calendar for tertiary institutions? To the best of my knowledge, schools abroad do not run the same calendar,” Adebowale said.

Adebowale urged the government to rather concern itself with designing policies that will promote quality education of the next generation, ensuring appropriate content, processes and procedures, monitoring the environment whether it is conducive or not, and checking whether teachers are qualified.

“The governor should ask himself the schools that resumed on January 4, how many of their students were on the ground? It is illogical to ask students to resume a day after a public holiday. The government should stop making life difficult for the people,” she said.

Susan Olarenwaju, a teacher, blamed the state government for the mix-up in the resumption date.

“The government were the ones that gave January 10 initially, only for them to suddenly change it.

Read also: School resumption in January stokes concern among parents

“How could the governor be so insensitive, he should have considered that many travelled? Besides, he should have consulted widely before arriving at such a decision.

“The way the governor is going, it will not be long before his words begin to lose weight among the people,” she stated.

Meanwhile, most of the stakeholders explained the reasons why many schools could not reopen as instructed by the state government.

Timothy Minge, a teacher with a private school at Isolo in Oshodi LGA explained that the new date was so sudden and that most parents who travelled with their children for the holiday were not yet back.

“The resumption date was just too early. Many parents that travelled with their kids have not returned,” Minge said.

Christopher Ibekwe, a school owner at Ijegun said the school could not reopen as directed by the state government because the school had already given parents a January 10 date, and does not consider it ideal to cancel it in such a sudden manner.

Experts believe that the state government should have consulted with school owners before coming out with the announcement. According to Ifeanyi Owoh, “Private schools are business-oriented no matter how one chooses to look at it. And that being the case, the government should be liberal enough to accommodate the school owners in its decisions, as private schools are meant to augment the efforts of the government.

“The decision to reopen schools on January 4 was rather jaundiced and ill-timed.”

Shola Udeme, a parent, frowned at the impromptu manner the new date was given.

“We were given January 10, only for the state government to suddenly change the date. Come to think of it, many people planned their holidays with January 10 in mind. That is just being rather inconsiderate,” she said.

Friday Erhabor, a public affairs analyst believes that there is nothing wrong if the Lagos State government chooses to shut down public schools for non-compliant to instructions but does not see any reason for such to be extended to private schools.

“In view of the pandemic and other challenges of the private schools, I do not think the state government should descend so low to dictating for the owners on when to reopen.

“I think Lagos State government is fighting so many battles and creating for itself too many enemies. The governor should be wise enough to reduce the battles and concentrate on giving the people the dividends of democracy,” Erhabor said.