Daily Trust

Con­cerns as FCTA cancels 3rd term de­spite aca­demic dis­rup­tions

- By Chidimma C. Okeke Education · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · Australian Capital Territory · Enugu

Ed­u­ca­tion is said to be worst hit by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic with 1.9 chil­dren around the globe un­able to at­tend school to learn. No doubt, stu­dents have missed a lot aca­dem­i­cally fol­low­ing the clo­sure of schools in the last six months.

Though many schools tried to bridge the knowl­edge gap with on­line teach­ing that was largely for the priv­i­leged, those who could af­ford at least an an­droid phone or lap­top and data sub­scrip­tion to be able to par­tic­i­pate.

For the in­di­gent stu­dents, the govern­ment tried to avail them the op­por­tu­nity to learn through ra­dio and tele­vi­sion, which many could still not af­ford or have ac­cess to.

As schools re­open across the coun­try this week, stu­dents have ex­pressed ex­cite­ment to be back af­ter stay­ing home for so long.

But the breach in learn­ing has re­mained a thing of con­cern. This is wors­ened by the re­cent an­nounce­ment by the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FCTDA) that there would not be a third term.

Schools were di­rected to con­duct re­vi­sion and ex­am­i­na­tion to tidy up and end the sec­ond term within two weeks and then pro­ceed to a new ses­sion.

By this or­der, stu­dents are go­ing to be pro­moted to the next class af­ter writ­ing the 2nd term ex­am­i­na­tion.

This has, how­ever, gen­er­ated mixed re­ac­tions as many think it was not in the best in­ter­est of the stu­dents and oth­ers think­ing oth­er­wise, though also with neg­a­tive im­pli­ca­tions.

A stu­dent of Capville Schools Abuja, Chioma Azubuike, who was ex­cited to be go­ing to SS3, said it was a wel­come de­vel­op­ment. “It is okay be­cause if we are to do the third term it will take more of our time. I am happy they can­celled it be­cause we have al­ready wasted a lot of time at home.”

“We did on­line classes that can stand as third term and it was worth it. I par­tic­i­pated and we wrote our tests and ex­am­i­na­tions on­line for the whole sub­jects,” she said.

But the same could not be said of Alade of GSS Karu, who said he did not have a phone or lap­top with which to par­tic­i­pate in the on­line pro­gramme.

Alade, who is happy that he will be pro­moted to the next class, said he will use ex­tra lessons to make up for the lost time.

Al­though the can­cel­la­tion of the third term is not ap­pli­ca­ble in some states, some stake­hold­ers who spoke to Daily Trust said it will af­fect the per­for­mance of stu­dents.

An ed­u­ca­tion­ist, Michael Ojonugwa, said “Stu­dents have stayed home for a long time so pro­mot­ing them without hav­ing a third term means they will be miss­ing a whole lot, es­pe­cially for those who would write WAEC. There are a lot of things to cover which they can­not cover.”

He said the third term should have been car­ried out as Kogi State govern­ment did; it re­moved all the hol­i­days so that the stu­dents can cover lost ground.

“Giv­ing au­to­matic pro­mo­tion to stu­dents who due to coro­n­avirus have stayed off stud­ies and have for­got­ten what they learnt has grave im­pli­ca­tions. What that means is that stu­dents are go­ing into a class that they are not men­tally and aca­dem­i­cally ma­tured to oc­cupy, at the end of the day they will not give their best,” he said.

For Has­san Ibrahim, a teacher with Capville Schools, Abuja, con­tin­u­ing with the third term will fur­ther dis­tort the whole aca­demic calendar.

Ibrahim said those who did not do the on­line learn­ing will have a gap in the knowl­edge that they ought to have ac­quired, es­pe­cially for the in­di­gent stu­dents and oth­ers who could not af­ford the on­line classes.

“The pro­mo­tion to the next class without com­plet­ing the scheme in the third term will def­i­nitely af­fect their per­for­mance be­cause the on­line les­son is not as ef­fec­tive as the con­ven­tional teach­ing,” he said.

The ed­u­ca­tion­al­ist said: “Some stu­dents regis­tered but they re­ally didn’t learn any­thing be­cause they were not hav­ing in­ter­est and some will just show up to reg­is­ter at­ten­dance that’s all and did not do the as­sign­ments given to them.

“My con­cern is that the new SS3 stu­dents do not have much time and un­less WAEC de­cides to push the timetable for­ward, there won’t be much time to cover up and that gap will be there and it will re­flect in their re­sults,” he said.

He urged the schools to en­gage the stu­dents in ex­tra lessons to make up for the third term con­sid­er­ing the time given to round up.

The chair­man of Voy­age In­ter­na­tional School, Yus­suff Oriy­omi, also said can­celling the third term is not fair on the stu­dents.

“My sug­ges­tion would have been that govern­ment should have in­te­grated the third term scheme into the new ses­sion, but can­celling the term is not fair to the chil­dren,” he said.

Oriy­omi said: “For us in our school, what we are do­ing is we in­te­grated the third term scheme into the new ses­sion so that way we put some top­ics into the first term and some into the sec­ond term and the re­main­ing into the 3rd term and we call it COVID-19 scheme.”

He said he didn’t un­der­stand why the govern­ment should can­cel the third term in­stead of ad­vis­ing schools to in­te­grate the term into the next ses­sion.

“You don’t make the third term look as if it is use­less and can­cel it. They should have gone the way of Osun, Enugu or Kogi that abridged the third term - in­stead of 13 weeks, they made it six weeks. For me I re­ally love that idea, I would have pre­ferred we go that way,” he said.

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