COVID-19: Don’t demand fees from parents, Rivers warns school owners

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Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Government has warned proprietors of private schools in the state demanding third term school fees from parents.

State Commissioner for Education, Prof Kaniye Ebeku, who issued this warning in a voice message obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday, said the private school proprietors had no authority to begin to ask parents to pay school fees.

Ebeku explained that schools in the state remained closed, adding that the state government has not released a new academic calendar.

The commissioner’s warning is coming on the heels of speculations that private school owners were preparing for the reopening of schools amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

He charged private school proprietors involved in such act to desist from it and directed that letter written to parents to pay third term school fees should be immediately withdrawn.

Ebeku said, “Schools (in Rivers State) have not reopened and therefore, third term has not commenced to the extent of any private schools inviting parents to pay fees.

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“We are still making consultations with the leadership of private school proprietors and with all stakeholders in the public-school sector as to what to do further regarding the continued learning of our students in view of the fact that COVID-19 situation is still on in the country.

“So, schools that have asked parents to pay fees for the third term, purportedly suggesting that third term has started, have not told the truth because the State Ministry of Education has not announced any reversed academic calendar.

“The original academic calendar for 2019/2020 was suspended with immediate effect on the 23rd of March when the closure of schools was announced by the Government of the State.

“Every school that has asked parents to pay fees for the third term has acted without authority and should forthwith withdraw such letters they sent to parents; they should withdraw all such letters from parents.”

He, however, disclosed that the state government was making consultations with a view to starting online teaching of students in the state.

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“Announcement for the commencement for online teaching, if that becomes necessary, would be made only after consultation with all stakeholders in due course. The amount of money parents would pay would be agreed before the announcement will be made,” he said.

 


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