Schools reopening: FG, stakeholders settle for September

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Barring any sudden change in plans, schools in Nigeria would reopen in September, a senior official of Federal Ministry of Education confirmed in Abuja.

The official said the decision will be implemented after school must have been put in proper position to control the spread of COVlD-l9.

The senior official of Federal Ministry of Education said  that officials of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) have been frequenting the Ministry, National Assembly and other relevant agencies lobbying the officials to persuade the government to reopen schools so as to allow graduating students to participate in the regional examination.

The official, however, confirmed WAEC officials have been uncomfortable since Nigeria announced that its students may not participate in the 2020 WAEC examination. Since then, they have been lobbying and using every opportunity to make the government see reasons to reverse the decision and allow students participate in the examination.

The official said: “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.”

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

The Ministry’s spokesman also confirmed 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.

He said the Minister 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.

He explained: “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 Universities, State Governors, and development partners on the issue of safe reopening of schools.”

Recall that, on Monday, Federal Government 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.

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