Concerns as FCTA cancels 3rd term despite academic disruptions
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.