The hustles and bustles that characterize Monday mornings in Lagos state, with buzzing school buses carrying children attending private schools were visibly absent this morning. Areas such as Mushin, Okota-Isolo, Ojota, Ilupeju, Ikorodu and Surulere were visibly without those early morning school runs, prompting curiosity that led to questions about what went wrong.
Enquiries by Gatekeeper News, however, revealed that there were conflicting signals about observance of one week midterm vacation this week.
While some schools, mostly private, have observed midterm vacation last week, there were concerns that a compulsory directive to add another one week will put a lot of pressure on the completion of the school curriculum for the term.
Gatekeeper News gathered from a reliable insider source that an emergency one-hour meeting held via zoom on Saturday morning between 8 am and 9 am between officials in the Lagos State Ministry of Education ( specifically the Office of Education Quality Assurance, OEQA) and leaders of 18 associations of private school owners in Lagos State resolved that those who have observed their midterm vacation last week are free to resume school this week while those who have not can proceed to have theirs this week.
But one big thing was missing. The outcome of the Saturday meeting was not as widely circulated as the previous one emphasizing the mandatory observance of the vacation this week. So, people are now confused and schools have shuttered. This confusion doesn’t affect the schools as much as it could alter the destinies and academic future of the students.
Some parents interviewed were perplexed about the seeming confusion on the midterm break just as some schools’ stakeholders are also confused.
“Government runs 24/7. There’s no excuse for not disseminating information about the outcome of the Saturday meeting with the 18 association leaders. Efficient system is one that responds quickly to situations. The emergency response in this case is not commendable as thousands of parents and children are left confused. That silence from the ministry is very expressive. The outcome of the Saturday meeting ought to have been circulated immediately. It doesn’t speak well of a system where such vital information is withheld from those who desperately needed it. The Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA) should be more proactive and engage better with the stakeholders.” A concerned stakeholder and operator of a private school (resident in Ketu) who preferred anonymity told us.
“The implication of this second week of vacation is clear. Those that have observed theirs earlier will be in deficits in the fulfilment of their responsibility to the children. Some may be forced to close the term one week behind schedule if they must complete their works.” Olakunle Johnson, a parent in Ikorodu said.
Going by the disclosures from our sources, it smacks of gross inefficiency, non-challance and high handedness for the ministry of Education Lagos state to fail in informing all of the outcome of the Saturday meeting, leaving it to a privileged few, thus creating confusions among schools, between parents and school owners and among school children themselves.
Efforts to get the commissioner of Education Lagos state, Folashade Adefisayo respond to the issue proved abortive as she didn’t respond to sms or answer the questions sent to her WhatsApp line as at press time.