The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has presented a proposal to suggest a date for the reopening of schools before the National Assembly.
During the presentation of the proposal before the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education on Tuesday June 23, 2020, Mr Nwajiuba stated that the proposal was the ministry’s guidelines on school reopening.
While noting that government had said that schools for some categories of students would be reopened soon, Nwajiuba said that giving a tentative date would result in misrepresentation by the public.
“We said we are going to experiment with some people and these are children from exit classes.
“In the document we have provided, we have suggested how we can move our education sector forward in this pandemic period,” the minister said.
He added that the ministry did not want to make it known at this period so that some people would not take the proposal for guidelines for school reopening.
“This is because people publish fake guidelines every day which I always come on air to debunk it. What we have now is a proposal.
“Even if the Senate has not called us, we would have come to you to discuss with you because we have already discussed with the House of Representatives,” he added.
Mr Nwajiuba noted further that the documents were presented so that the NA can criticise and make inputs as major stakeholders.
He, however, expressed concern over Oyo State Government’s disregard to warnings against school reopening.
“Why is Oyo State talking of reopening schools when it has just started recording spike in the cases of Coronavirus infection,” he said.
Vice-Chairperson of the Committee, Sen. 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 schools students were made to rely on educational programmes on radio and television stations. She stressed that they tune to stations showing cartoons whenever there was no adult to guide them.
Eyakenyi said that children in public schools had no access to online classes like their counterparts in private schools.
She noted that the arrangement regarding radio and television stations was not working.
“Even when the students in the cities have access to education programmes on radio and televisions, what of those in the villages? What do we do so that we don’t shut them out?
“If the 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 reopening,” she said.
“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 make sure that not all the students resume at the same time.
“We could have the numbers of students that would go to school in both the morning and afternoon sessions,” she added.