Rivers State Ministry of Education, on Tuesday, warned proprietors of private schools operating in the state against demanding third term school fees from parents.
This is following reports that some private schools are gearing up to resume academic activities amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Prof Kaniye Ebeku, the commissioner for education who said proprietors of private schools had no authority to demand school fees from parents as schools in the state are still closed.
Ebeku explained that the state government has not released new academic calendar and charged private school proprietors involved in such act to desist from it and directed that letter written to parents to pay third term school fees should be immediately withdrawn.
According to him: “Schools (in Rivers State) have not reopened and therefore, third term has not commenced to the extent of any private schools inviting parents to pay fees.
“We are still making consultations with the leadership of private school proprietors and with all stakeholders in the public-school sector as to what to do further regarding the continued learning of our students in view of the fact that COVID-19 situation is still on in the country.
“So, schools that have asked parents to pay fees for the third term, purportedly suggesting that third term has started, have not told the truth because the State Ministry of Education has not announced any reversed academic calendar.
“The original academic calendar for 2019/2020 was suspended with immediate effect on the 23rd of March when the closure of schools was announced by the Government of the State.
“Every school that has asked parents to pay fees for the third term has acted without authority and should forthwith withdraw such letters they sent to parents; they should withdraw all such letters from parents.”
“Announcement for the commencement for online teaching, if that becomes necessary, would be made only after consultation with all stakeholders in due course. The amount of money parents would pay would be agreed before the announcement will be made,” he said.