Many schools in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, commenced their annual vacation last week with pupils, parents and teachers hoping to enjoy the holidays. DEBORAH OCHENI reports
It is the longest holiday in the academic session. It is coming after pupils in nursery, primary and secondary schools had completed their third term examinations. It is a very significant period as pupils and students, who performed well in their examinations are promoted to the next class.
In fact, it’s always a big celebration as some pupils and student bid farewell to their classmates and friends that they may not get to see again.
A visit to some of the schools during the graduation ceremonies revealed how parents hoped to engage their children during this long break in order to avoid idleness.
It was found out that while some children would be engaged in holiday lessons in summer schools, some would travel to their villages to see their grandparents while some parents prefer to register their children in skills acquisition centres to learn some trades for the future.
Daramola Olusegun, a parent of two children, appreciates schools where the teachers have introduced holiday lessons as a viable means of keeping the pupils busy. He spoke on what his children will be doing during the long vacation.
“My children will be going to school for holiday lesson and it’s a good thing that schools in the city made provision for such engagements. My wife and I are civil servants. Yet, we are not really bothered because provisions were made on engaging them. If we must travel, it’s just for weekend,” he said.
For Abah Daniel, his children would travel to their village for the holidays. According to him, going to the village was important in reconnecting the children with the roots.
But Ladi Sunday, a parent at Hephzibah Nursery and Primary School, expressed apprehension about how he would manage his children during the period. He said working class parents would not find it easy when children are at home on holidays.
“It is not going to be easy to keep the children at home for the period of holiday but then, it also calls for celebration. Our children have worked so hard and they are graduating to the next class. It is a thing of joy and opportunity for us the parents to bond with them but that cannot work in Nigeria except you want to go hungry.
“It’s a mixed feeling; we are happy they are graduating and at the same time thinking of how to keep them for two weeks before the holiday lessons start because I and my wife will be going to work,”he said.
Esther Ahmed, another parent is happy that the children would be coming home.
“I’m excited my baby is promoted to the next class. I’m also relieved from preparing him for school every morning. We can spend quality time during the holidays,” she said.
Joy Akhire said her wards would be enrolled in a vocational centre where they would be trained on some basic skills that would help them in the future.
“I have already got a place for my son to learn shoe making because I know the importance of skills acquisition. I have this principle that my children must not only depend on formal education,” he told Inside Abuja.
Monday Uyah, proprietor, International Senate Academy, says the graduation ceremony means a lot to him as it is an avenue to teach the pupils how to love and respect Nigerian cultures in spite of its diversity.
“The graduation ceremony is aimed at reminding pupils of our love for them and to show them also that we love their culture in spite of its diversity. Pupils from different Nigerian tribes dressed in their cultural attire, made presentation and we support them all as one. It shows unity.
“Our pupils also need to rest after working so hard for the whole term. But, in as much as we want them to rest, we are also conscious of not allowing them to stay too long at home because of the danger of forgetting what we have invested in them. Hence, they are resuming for summer holiday lessons after just one week of resting at home and to also give those who want to travel the opportunity to do that,” he said.
Nkoyo Monday, Headmistress, International Senate Academy, noted that the break was aimed at getting teachers and pupils prepared for their next assignment because summer holiday is starting almost immediately.
“We want our children to be up and doing. They are children. If you allow them to play too much, they tend to forget what they have learnt and after series of meeting with the management of the school, we resolved at engaging them in holiday lesson to pre-introduce them to their new classes,” she said.
Rahmat Abdul, a teacher at Gudmerch Academy said the current holiday is just for two weeks as holiday lesson starts after two weeks.
“The holiday is just for two weeks and I intend to travel before we resume for holiday lesson. The students will be back to school for normal holiday lesson which will keep them engaged,” she said.
Mary Ochigbo, a class teacher at Bextpath Academy, said the holiday was an opportunity to calm nerves and fully prepare for holiday lessons. According to her, the children have just two weeks to relax after which they will be engaged in lessons.
A cross section of children from different schools, who spoke with Inside Abuja, expressed happiness about the holidays but echoed that they would love to travel to visit their relatives outside the city before they resume for holiday lessons.
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