Extra-Classes In Schools: How Much Can A Child Assimilate?

02 Feb 2013

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The Need For The Participation Of Extracurricular Activities Such As After School Tutoring Is At Par With Its Rise In Virtually Most Schools Today. The Extra Lessons After Regular School Hours Where Once Used As A Means To Enable Kids Improve In School Work In Preparation For Exams. But With The Increase In The Incessant Failure In External Exams, Most Schools Find Is It Necessary To Begin Preparing These Kids In The Same Manner, At Toddler Ages? Ada Igboanugo Writes

Schools regulate between the hours of eight and two, four for most of its academic work. And then the kid is back home to either continue with assignment if given, or play video games or with friends or watch television. Save for the naturally inquisitive one who either engage in the reading of educational or inspirational book or tabloids or even take a trip to the library for further study to prepare for the next day’s work at school.

But then the continuous rise in the failure of kids at external examinations raised alarm, debunking the idea that these reading habits help, and hence the need for extra lessons to prepare them towards these examinations. These were initially known to be for those in their final year of secondary schools and so far, 50 per cent says there has been an improvement in the results of these kids who want to further their education to the University.

However, in a recent research, it showed that, schools these days start these extra lessons right from nursery school. In a visit to the University of Lagos staff school, it was learnt that most kids in their toddler ages are kept in school after school hours, while their class teachers continue their normal classes after the regular school hours had long been over. Aside thinking this might or should be strenuous for the kids who are young and should be at home and not at school as at 4 pm, the reasons why their parents decided to engage them in such activities could be understandable even if not considered the best.

When asked, a parent said that she close late from work and had no one to go pick the children from school when they close and since she couldn’t leave her place of work mid day, she had to register them for after school classes to keep them busy while she was at work until she was done and ready to pick them. But then she added that it works as an advantage to her as well because in turn, assignments are done and her kids are sound academically.
While hers and many others had to do with late coming, others had more to do with the latter.

Their kids simply were not getting it. Doing assignments at home were a constant struggle, the normal school hours just weren’t enough. They had no choice but to enrol them in after school lessons. Albeit, that fraction of parents maybe well above 50 per cent, another certain percentage fall under unnecessarily ambitious parents who want their kids to be exceptional in their classes at all costs and in most cases to the detriment of these kids, health-wise. There have been cases of such kids who have been subjected to so much school labour that eventually led to them collapsing, and at times leading to their demise.

The question as to if these activities are imposed by the school were revoked by a certain Lagos State school Headmaster who claimed this particular activity could be likened to the others such as the school clubs and sports teams that kids stay back after school hours. It is solely optional and by choice. On the contrary though, most parents seemed to think it is indeed imposed subtlety by class teachers who suggest it with reasons that their kids aren’t faring well in schools. Some parents seem to think it is indeed a scheme put in place to extort extra money from parents. And they had a good reason to assume so too.

According to findings, some teachers, in fact do engage their students in extra lessons to make extra money, aside that which they are already paid, at times without the knowledge of the school authority. A parent whose child attends a nursery school in Gbagada (name withheld) confirmed this saying she found out when she confronted the teacher and threatened to report to school authorities after the teacher had told her the school wasn’t involved in the act. In the teacher’s defence, she was only doing it to assist her students academically, but the parent said her kids hadn’t improved one bit and she eventually had to withdraw her children from the school.

While most have theirs within school premises and others, not in accordance with the school rules and various other reasons as to why, most school do such thing. Instead their parents make arrangement for home tutoring whereby class teachers from the kids’ school are paid to give their kids private lessons. Now this is done for two reasons- either in the case of this particular parent whose child attends a multilingual school and whose entire curriculum is in a foreign language other than English to help with understanding it better like the parent THISDAY met whose child attends an all-French school.

English being his lingua franca and Yoruba his mother tongue, studying a language other than what he easily recognises poses as a challenge most times and so according to his parents, a private French tutor had to be arranged to help him. Another is by parents who once again for ambitious reasons want to get their kids ahead of others in their class.

Extra lessons, though have recorded a tad amount of success eventually, reports still go on about the incessant failure of kids at external exams. Now in as much as blame would rather much be awarded to the kids, the question begs, isn’t that why they are involved with the extra lesson in the first places?

These failures and concerns have raised issues as to whether these lessons are really necessary? If so is it recognised by the educational board? Should it indeed begin at toddler ages to better produce good results?

Executive assistant to the State Universal Basic Educational Board {SUBEB}, Mr. Babatunde Shina, told THISDAY that the SUBEB only regulates that which concerns public schools and have no ties whatsoever to the private schools. He also said he was not aware of any such activities conducted by public schools except of course the ones conducted for final year students for their exams. Subtly pointing out that on a larger scale, private schools pose this as a benefit for their students. But that doesn’t dispute the fact that these public school kids do not also engage in after school lesson as it could as well have fallen under the arranged tutoring or even evening lesson classes.

Whether private or public schools, be it for the purpose of benefits or for whatever reason parents decide to engage their ward in after school lessons, the advantages of a child engaging in after school lessons is slightly above a second thought. Its pros and cons however when put into perspective can be varied when the question once again is posed as to the welfare of the child and its benefits. So far the ratio still remains constant and maybe, who knows, starting them from their toddler ages might produce a better result or the consistent lessons for these final students might do the trick. The results will tell at the end of it all.

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