Covid-19: FG, stakeholders strike deal on schools reopening

Nigeria's Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau

Apparently to avoid jeopardizing the future of Nigerian school children especially the graduating students, the Federal Government and stakeholders in the Education Sector may have reached a September date for the reopening of schools in the country.

The indication that Nigerian schools will reopen earlier than envisaged emerged Friday in Abuja when a top official of Federal Ministry of Education hinted that schools in Nigeria would reopen in September.

Director of Press, Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong, in a statement, Friday in Abuja confirmed that Federal Government has given school owners in the country up to July 29, to meet specific guidelines towards the safe reopening of schools.

The Ministry’s spokesman also revealed that the Ministry has met with Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control,(NCDC), the Education in Emergencies Working Group, and had developed and circulated guidelines for safe reopening of schools.

According to him the Minister (Adamu Adamu) has directed school owners to carefully study the recently released guidelines for safe reopening of schools, prepare and comply with the guidelines so that schools can be reopened.

Said he, “Schools are to undertake self-assessment and send feedback to State Ministries of Education, not later than 29th July, 2020. Thereafter, consultations with relevant stakeholders will be held on 30th July, 2020, to review the situation and decide on a specific date for reopening of schools or otherwise.

“We have consulted widely with stakeholders in the education sector, including Commissioners of Education in all the states of the federation, the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria,(APSON), National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools,(NAPPS), Provosts of Colleges of Education, Rectors of Polytechnics, Vice Chancellors of , State Governors, and development partners on the issue of safe reopening of schools.”

Prompt News recalls that the Federal Government last Monday released 52-page guideline document for safe reopening of schools, advising schools to strictly comply with the guidelines for the safety of students and teachers against COVID-19

Meanwhile, ministry sources have however revealed that the decision to reopen schools will be implemented after school authorities must have put things in proper position to control the spread of COVlD-l9.

Our correspondent further gathered that officials of the Examinations Council (WAEC) have been paying regular visits to the Ministry, National Assembly and other relevant agencies to lobby the officials to persuade the Federal Government to reopen schools especially to allow the graduating students to participate in the forthcoming School Certificate Examination (WASCE).

It was also learnt that WAEC officials have been uncomfortable ever since the Nigerian authorities
announced that its students may not participate in the 2020 WASCE just as it was alleged they have been lobbying and using every opportunity to make the Nigerian government see reasons to reverse the decision and allow students participate in the examination.

According to our source, “The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, met with WAEC officials on Monday, and WAEC officials agreed to further consult with four other countries on the possibility of a new date for the examination.”

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