We consulted widely before reopening schools- Adamu
As schools across the country brace for reopening next week, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, says he widely consulted stakeholders in the sector before ordering resumption of the institutions.
Adamu, who spoke at a briefing in Abuja, said he was initially skeptical about ordering the reopening of schools even though he was also under intense pressure to do so.
The minister said he arrived at the decision to reopen only after consulting the likes of the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria, APSON, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS, Provost of Colleges of Education, Rectors of Polytechnics, Vice Chancellors of Universities, State Governors, among others.
Recall that the Federal government had ordered the shutdown of schools across the country in March as a measure to contain the coronavirus pandemic, a common protocol that was adopted by governments across the globe.
But last Friday, the minister gave a directive that schools in the country can now resume normal academic activities by October 12th 2020.
According to him, the directive was also extended to public and private tertiary institutions, even though the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU in public universities have been adamant to resume owing to differences in the implementation of the Integrated Personnel Payroll and Information System IPPIS.
“I had indicated at the Wednesday 8th July, 2020 Federal Executive Council meeting that until the curve of infection rate of Covid-19 is flattened and adequate preparations put in place, it will be unsafe to reopen schools,” he said.
Adamu also noted that consequent upon these consultations, schools for exit classes in the 104 Unity Colleges were directed to resume and sit for their examination and gladly no single case of Covid-19 infection was reported.
"After due consultation with the Presidential Committee on COVID-19 ,we have decided that all our 104 Unity Colleges should reopen on the 12th of October 12th, 2020.
"State and Private School owners will work out the modalities for the re-opening of schools under their purview".
"Let me warn that any school owner that does not comply with these guidelines and an outbreak occurs in the school due to negligence, risks closure. Be vigilant, strict and rigid in the implementation of Covid-19 protocols for the safety of our children and ourselves as we reopen schools.
"Nothing should be taken for granted, let me use this opportunity to thank and appreciate the Federal Ministry of Environment, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 and other stakeholders for the various roles they have played which have brought us this far," he stated.
Meanwhile, an entrepreneur, Mr. Ofem Oboma, has welcomed the reopening of schools, stating that the move will restore normalcy in the academic community and afford proprietors the opportunity to run their school investments.