The Federal Government throug the Minister of state for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said that his ministry has presented a proposal containing safety measures to take before the reopening of schools to the National Assembly.
The Minister of State, spoke on Tuesday in Abuja during a meeting with the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education. He stressed that the proposal should not be misinterpreted as schools’ reopening.
While reacting to the alleged plans by some states to reopen schools, despite the fears arising from the continuous rising cases of Civic-19 infections across the Nation. Nwajiuba said the ministry had presented a document to the National Assembly, proposing safety measures, before schools would be reopened.
He said “In the document we have provided, the ministry have suggested how we can move our Education sector forward during this period of pandemic. We don’t want to make it public at this time so that it won’t be misconstrued as guidelines for schools’ reopening. Because people publish fake guidelines everyday, which I always come on air to debunk. What we have now is a proposal. Even if the Senate has not called us, we would have come to you to discuss this proposal wirh the committee because we have already spoken to the House of Representatives.
We are presenting this documents so you can criticise and make inputs as major stakeholders. The committee’s Vice Chairman, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, who presided over the meeting, expressed the fears that the academic calendar could be distorted in public schools where no visible arrangement was being made to teach the children at home, unlike their private schools’ counterparts.
She said public school students’ were made to rely on educational radio and television programmes but most of them preferred to watch other stations showing cartoons whenever and other programes, that are not educative, mostly when they are left alone without an adult to guide them.
The senator said children in public schools lack access to online classes, like their counterparts in the private schools. Even when the pupils resident in the cities have access to educational programmes on radio and televisions, what of those residentin the villages?
If government can give guidelines for the reopening of churches and mosques, stakeholders in the Education sector could also hold a meeting with the government to agree on guidelines for schools’ to reopen
All we need to do is to come up with measures that would ensure the safety of both the students and their teachers.
We can design a plan that would ensure resumption in badges. We could start with the exit classes. We could have the numbers of students divided into sessions, morning and afternoon classes.
“We have to be innovative in our approach to save our educational sector in this country because nobody knows how much long the pandemic (Corona Virus) will be with us.”
However the senator representing Oyo South, Kola Balogun, asked about the reaction of the Federal Government to the plan by the Oyo State government to reopen its schools. The minister in his response asked “Why is Oyo State talking about reopening schools when it has just started recording an increased cases of Covid-19 infection?
Beside Oyo is Ogun State, which was part of the three states under Federal Government’s lockdown since April and it is not talking about schools’ reopening.
He went further to say “That’s part of the country’s problem”. Education is on the simultaneous List. So, every state takes decisions as it pleases. Also, everybody is a big man. When you try to reach them through the phone, they will not answer you.
As we speak, Kogi and Cross River states are not on the same page with the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on the issue of testing while all their neighbouring states are conducting tests.
Image credit: BBC.