The Academic Staff Union of Universities has warned the Federal Government against its decision to reopen schools for Senior Secondary School 3 students.
While disclosing this on Saturday July 18, 2020, the Union stated that it supported the FG’s decision to stop the students from partaking in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination earlier scheduled to commence on August 4.
The union insisted that the government shut down schools until 2021 to ensure adequate preparations.
While reiterating his support for the decision, ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, cited the cases in some countries such as Kenya.
He said that no reasonable government would take such chances unless parents would be told to sign an undertaking.
“Look, Kenya has said they have closed all their schools till next year (2021); they too have exams to write.
“Safety first. If it means closing the schools until next year to safeguard the lives of Nigerian children and safeguard the health of all Nigerians, so be it,” Ogunyemi said.
“So, if that will help us to address cases that can lead to increase in mortality, I think Nigerians should go that way and all of us should see reason for it. If they need to cancel admission for the year, it is good for them.
“Life matters first, people must have life first before they can go to university. Are the universities ready to work now?
“Our position is that they should not experiment with the lives of our children.
“Nobody can tell; the situation may soon normalise and they can do their exams and there is another opportunity for external candidates around November. So, it’s not as if the door is totally closed,” he added.
The ASUU president added that the union had not seen any evidence to show that schools were secured for students to go back.
Ogunyemi stated that first thing that should be tackled is whether schools are safe.
He stressed that if the schools are not safe, the students should not be used as an experiment.
“An attempt to send back the children to school at a time there is a spike in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria is like experimenting with the lives of our children.
“If they put all the things in place, including social and physical distancing, sanitisers, kitting the children as we see in other places, decontamination with water flowing in the schools and all the gadgets, why not?
“So, if government can meet all these conditions, then they can reopen the schools. But if they cannot meet all these conditions, they should not experiment with even 10 students in any school,” he said.