Primary and post primary schools across the country will resume for another session after a long vacation this week in many states and next weeks in some others.
The schools went on vacation last July and many of the students utilized the period for many things including part time holiday jobs, spiritual and physical development, some used the time to see their relatives or go to their villages while others used the period to prepare for the new session by attending extramural classes organized by their schools or institutions around them.
Expectedly, the young ones who have been used to sleeping long hours during the holiday may not easily like the idea of returning to school. Its not out of sight to see one or two crying as they are being forced to return to the classes. Many parents who have also rested for a while from school runs will also have to shift their program back to the status quo. Its also a time for new parents to join the league of parents whose children are of school age. Many children will be going to school for the first time in their live.
The most important feature of this period is the issue of money. School fees must be paid. The fees charge by schools depends on the quality of the school, the infrastructures the school provides, the location of the school, it is expected that schools in high brow areas like Ikoyi, Lekki, Asokoro, Maitama and other posh areas in the country will be more expensive than schools in country side and slums. Even in the countryside, amount being charged by schools varies.
We advice parents to consider their income before enrolling their parents because experience has shown that its not really the amount of fees that determine the intelligence level of the students. Parents should endeavour that they monitor the academic activities of their wards as this is a veritable means through which lessons taught can easily be learnt. They should not shift their responsibilities to the teachers as they are first of all, the first teacher and the role model of their children.
More importantly, the parents should monitor and protect their children from several predators such as bullies in the school, randy teachers, wicked taxi and bike riders and so many other dangers being faced by the innocent wards.
We implore the government to upgrade the standard of the public schools. The notion that the public schools are for the children of the poor should be scrapped. The government should make sure that the teachers in the public schools are up and doing and the ratio of students to teacher should be reviewed. A scenario where one teacher is absurd and counter productive. No reasonable learning can be effective under such terrible situation.
It is worrisome that One in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria.
According to statistics from UNICEF, about 10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. Only 61 percent of 6-11 year-olds regularly attend primary school and only 35.6 percent of children aged 36-59 months receive early childhood education.
In the north of the country, the picture is even bleaker, with a net attendance rate of 53 percent. Getting out-of-school children back into education poses a massive challenge.
States in the north-east and north-west have female primary net attendance rates of 47.7 percent and 47.3 percent, respectively, meaning that more than half of the girls are not in school. The education deprivation in northern Nigeria is driven by various factors, including economic barriers and socio-cultural norms and practices that discourage attendance in formal education, especially for girls.
In north-eastern and north-western states, 29 percent and 35 percent of Muslim children, respectively, receive Qur’anic education, which does not include basic skills such as literacy and numeracy. The government considers children attending such schools to be officially out-of-school.
In north-eastern Nigeria, 2.8 million children are in need of education-in-emergencies support in three conflict-affected States (Borno, Yobe, Adamawa). In these States, at least 802 schools remain closed and 497 classrooms are listed as destroyed, with another 1,392 damaged but repairable.
We call on government at all levels to make sure that these children are brought back to school and be equipped to become the leaders of tomorrow as they are being called.
Happy resumption to all.