Some parents in Ibadan have expressed concern about the payment of third term fees being demanded by private school owners over virtual learning for students.
Some of the parents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan on Thursday, said that some schools are demanding up to 90 per cent of the full tuition fees for third term learning online.
Mrs Augusta Babafemi, a parent with children in both primary and secondary school levels, said her position on the matter was from the point of sympathy for the teachers.
“Parents used their data and supervised the children on the various educational contents sent online while teachers are in the comfort of their houses.
“Private schools also should feel for the parents because the burden is on them. The virtual learning is not done every time and then there are data speed hitches and so my husband feels there is no need to pay.
“But I feel that these teachers have family and so they should be supported. The school is asking for about 30 per cent payment of the third term and I feel we should pay so the school can, in turn, pay the teachers,” Babalola said.
Another parent, Dr Monica Benson, said her children’s school “is asking for the full tuition fee minus other expenses and this seems not fair.
“The school had at a time removed my children from their learning platform on WhatsApp and now it wants to add them claiming that the third term is compulsory.
“No one is exempted from the effects of COVID-19 pandemic and for schools demanding that high amount is not fair at all.
“For instance, I have two children who are given assignments and upon returning from office, I am faced with ensuring the children do the work sent.
“Besides, each content sent takes a lot of data to download about five minutes of videos, will be about 30 megabytes and consider that for three educational contents sent per child every day.
“At times, the children would have slept before I could settle down to guide them on the educational content sent. The school should not make it a do or die affairs, we are in a trying time”.
Reacting to this development, Mr Kayode Adeyemi, the President National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Oyo state said parents should support private schools at this time as they are the most hit with the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
Adeyemi said: “If it is going to be a virtual learning and teaching, parents need to negotiate with the school on how to pay since students are not actually in the school.
“If they were to be in school, all the expenses would be charged to meet the learning of the third term, but due to the prevailing situation and the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, there is a way in which parents and private schools owners can come together in sustaining the school.
“At this juncture, we should not be trying to be too wise with money. We should be looking at the welfare of people taking care of our children.
“Even companies who pay their tax still donate money to sustain the government; I don’t think it is out of place, at this point in time, a trying time for their school.”
He suggested that they could decide to pay the full amount if this was what parents would do to appreciate where their children would be taught to do well in life.
“For me, some of these narratives that I will not pay or I will cut your money into two shouldn’t have arisen at all because parents and schools are stakeholders working for the good of the children.
“I think the narrative where parents will become the enemy of schools or the proprietors or even the teachers should be jettisoned and thrown into the dustbin.
“We are supposed to be there for each other knowing that these people have served you when everything was alright; so, if we are in a critical period it is still the parents that should sustain the schools and support them.
“Regardless of the training been virtual parents should give the school palliatives, it is not out of place, the reality is that it is the private schools that are sustaining the education sector of the country whether from the basic level up to the tertiary level,” he said.
Adeyemi, however, noted that no parents would be happy to see the teachers of their children go hungry and begging around the neighbourhood.
He said that these are issues both stakeholders should consider and not business relations.
The NAPPS president enjoined private schools not to take a fixed position on the matter.
“But where some parents have issues let the school understand with them and find the win-win position to sort it out, but the terminal class should pay their tuition fee in full because they will be writing examinations and this money should have been paid since the second term”.