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Thursday, May 30, 2024

I Was Misquoted — Soludo’s Commissioner Clears Air on Alleged Banning of Extramural Classes



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By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, has debunked and described as unfounded, the trending stories of Anambra State Government allegedly banning all forms of extramural classes and pegging 2:30pm as the latest time for dismissal of all school/academic activities in all primary and secondary schools in the State.

It would be recalled that the media space was awash early this week, with publications quoting the Commissioner as saying that Governor Chukwuma Soludo has banned the extension classes and warned that no primary or secondary school should henceforth stay beyond 2:30pm in the State. The Commissioner was said to have recently made the comment while addressing newsmen in Awka, the state capital.

The publications further quoted the Commissioner as saying that the decision was in line with the Governor’s desire for school children to have adequate rest and interaction with their parents before the commencement of the next day’s activities.

She was also quoted as warning all school Heads in the State to ensure closure of all daily academic activities by 2.30pm, to give room for the children to be at home by 3pm.

However, when contacted by this reporter, Izunna Okafor; Commissioner Chuma-Udeh refuted the publications as baseless, adding that she was totally misquoted out of context by the reporter(s) through whom the news emanated.

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According to her, she was recently accosted and interviewed by newsmen, who, among other questions, asked her if there is a stipulated time for school dismissal. This, she said, she explained to them in line with the recommendations of the United Nations, while also informing them that Nigeria adopts John Dewey’s Progressive Child-Centered Education, which is built around some major cardinal principles. The principles, she said, facilitates progressive education and learning among children more than number of long hours the child is taught learn.

She said during the interaction with newsmen, she further told them that Governor Soludo had repeatedly frowned against children going to school any 7.am and returning home by 7.pm, adding that even extramural classes can still be done after a school child goes home after school dismissal and returns, with even much positive impacts on the child’s learning.

While stressing that she never made any mention of banning extramural classes or pegging a dismissal time for schools in the State, the Commissioner wondered how and from where the reporters manufactured and imported that into their publications and even went to the extent of accusing her of saying that the Governor gave the order.

She emphasized that Anambra State government under Governor Soludo, holds education to a great esteem, which he has practically manifested since the inception of his administration. This, she said, had also further repositioned the State’s Education sector to a greater height, as could be seen in the exceptional performances of the state’s school children in national and international examinations and competitions, including the just-concludes 2024 World Affairs Challenge (WAC) 2024, organized by WorldDenver, where the students of the Christ the King College (CKC) Onitsha, who represented Nigeria in the global competition, defeated their opponents from US and Turkey to clinch the first position, making it the first time Nigeria is clinching Gold and First Prize in the competition since its inception 32 years ago.

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This, she said, is one out of many victories, testimonies and positive stories that abound in the State’s education sector under Governor Soludo, maintaining that the Soludo Administration would not relent in giving special attention to the sector, nor would it keep quiet over any publication capable of retarding the progressive move being made by the sector.

While calling on the public to disregard the “unfounded” publication, the Commissioner, who warned against misquoting an interview response, also advised the respected members of the press to always ensure factual and correct reportage devoid of sentiments, to avoid misinforming or disinforming the public who trust and depend on them for authentic information.

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