Secondary school principals and teachers in Kogi State have jointly rejected a one week extension of the second term of the 2018/2019 academic session by the state government.
The All Nigeria Conference of Secondary School Principals and the Academic Staff Union of Senior Secondary Schools announced their stance in a joint statement issued in Lokoja on Thursday.
According to them, the shifting of the closing date of the second term from April 5 to April 12, as announced by the Ministry of Education, is belated and cannot be implemented.
The statement, signed by Godwin Yakubu and Ranti Ojo, President and Chairman of the state chapters of the ANCOPSS and ASUSS, described the decision to shift the closing date as unilateral, saying it was also a violation of due process.
It said: “In as much as the Ministry of Education may think that it is within the purview of its responsibility to alter the school calendar, it is also necessary to understand that the principle of collectivism and the standard of practice dictates that all stakeholders ought to be carried along in matters as important as altering school calendar.
“If there is any good reason for this desperate extension, we wonder why the ministry had to wait till two days to the close of the term before coming up with such a joker.
“Already, examinations have been completed, results computed and awaiting authorisation and distribution to students on Friday, 5th April, 2019.
“The ministry coming up with a directive for extension on Wednesday, 3rd April, 2019 seems to show that the ministry is not conversant with the School calendar prepared by it.”
ANCOPSS and ASUSS further said they expected the ministry to take cognisance of the fact that the last salary paid to teachers and principals in the state was for the month of October 2018.
They said: “Teachers and principals have been clinging to the very thin string of hope supported by the love they have for their students and have been able to drag their already famished bodies to this level to ensure that the term is successfully closed on 5th April, 2019.
“For the ministry, in this very deplorable conditions and circumstance of our members, to consider even a day extension shows a very high level of insensitivity to the plight of teachers and principals.”
They also argued that the extension would constitute another burden on parents who have been without salaries for five months and above.
The unions therefore called on the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to rescind the decision and allow schools to naturally close for the second term of 2018/2019 Academic Session on April 5, 2019.
“Anything to the contrary will be tantamount to an attempt to wedge a speeding train,” the statement said.