School reopening: FG asks states to scrutinise safety measures

Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, has asked the state governments and other stakeholders to scrutinise the template devised by the federal government to reopen schools across the country.
He disclosed this when he was speaking on the occasion of the zonal  stakeholders meeting holding simultaneously in the six geographical zones in Abuja, Monday.
“It gives me great pleasure and honour to be at this very critical Stakeholders’ Dialogue on Safe School Readiness taking place simultaneously in the six geographical zones across the country.  You may recall that at the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Nigeria, schools and all learning facilities were closed in order to safeguard the health and well-being of our children. 

“The closure of schools at all levels invariably impacted the educational sector like every other sector.  We would recall that the decision to close schools was part of the government’s strategy to curtail the spread of the virus as the school environments were considered to be veritable grounds to spread the virus.
However, in the course of time and consequent upon the trend of the spread of the virus, the need to ease the lockdown, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) taking directives from the President based on informed opinion, allowed the partial opening of schools, particularly to allow students in their terminal classes to resume and write their examinations.

“This did not come without very serious challenges which we are all aware of, nationwide. The closure and the ease down period, particularly as regards the closure of schools, have lasted for about seven months. Generally, through the concerted efforts of governments at all levels, there is a cautious belief and understanding that the pandemic curve has started flattening. This news provides the impetus for a positive hope that things are getting better. Regrettably, learners have lost a lot of grounds as far as education is concerned.

“It is in view of the above, that the Ministry considers it expedient to hold this Stakeholders’ meeting at this time to plan and address the eventual safe re-opening of schools and learning facilities, nationwide, Nwajiuba said.  
The Federal Ministry of Education has developed the Safe School Readiness Template for an integrated approach to safe school re-opening which comes with many lessons. The Template requires the full engagement of all stakeholders which is considered a sine qua non for successful implementation. 

“Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that great accomplishments are made based on synergy.  It is on this premise that we are all here to deliberate and adopt the Template for the Safe Re-opening of schools and learning facilities. The Template has some key roles and shared responsibilities to be played by the Stakeholders at National, State, LGA and the School levels. It is imperative to ask the question “What are you doing in your State that is different from what is in the Template?  I hereby, most kindly, urge you to critique the Template assiduously for the benefit of the Nigerian school child.” 

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