- 19 states in the northern part of Nigeria have expressed their support for the federal government's decision to suspend school reopening
- A joint communique issued by education commissioners in the states commended Education minister for taking a decisive stand against school reopening
- The commissioners said their states will only participate in 2020 WASSCE only when it is safe to reopen schools and when coordinated by the education ministry
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The commissioners of education in 19 northern states in the country have supported the suspension of school reopening amid the pandemic by the federal government.
The commissioners made this known in a communique issued in Kaduna state on Saturday, July 11, after a virtual meeting to consider school reopening and other issues to strengthen the education sector, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Legit.ng gathers that the communique was signed by the commissioner of education, Kaduna, Dr Shehu Makarfi, who is also the chairman of the Northern States School Exchange Programme.
The meeting was attended by commissioners of 13 of the 19 northern states namely, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Nasarawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Kwara, Katsina, Kano, Borno and Jigawa
The commissioners applauded the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, for taking a decisive stand against school reopening and pledged their full support.
According to them, keeping schools closed considering the spike in cases of COVID-19 across the country is a sure step in ensuring that children remain safe.
The states also gave two conditions to participate in the forthcoming The West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). According to them, their students will only write WASSCE when it is safe to reopen schools and when coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education.
“We have, therefore, resolved that schools should be reopened only when it is safe to do so and when states have complied with the minimum COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by the NCDC.
“We will also participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and other examinations only when it is safe to reopen schools and when coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education,” they said.
The commissioners also resolved to carry out a holistic assessment of schools to determine safety status for reopening and submit reports to their respective governors for consideration.
“Schools’ infrastructure, such as dilapidated classrooms, students’ hostels, source of safe water, sanitary facilities, including handwashing equipment and security are critical and should be improved.
“We will equally clear schools of bushes and grasses, as well as fumigate school’s surroundings to support learning and ensure safety when schools resume,” they said.
They, however, appealed to the federal government to support states in putting safety measures in place for school reopening.
What education minister Adamu Adamu said
On Wednesday, July 8, the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, said secondary schools under the control of the federal government will not be reopening for the forthcoming WAEC examinations.
The minister also called on the management of WAEC to suspend the exams just as he urged state governments to toe the federal government's line.
“This is not the right time to reopen,” he said.
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The House of Representatives disagreed with the education minister and called on the federal government to rescind its decision to stop secondary school students from writing the WASSCE due to Covid-19.
The chairman of the committee on basic education, Julius Ihonvbere, said Nigeria is not the only country expected to write the exams amid Covid-19.
Ihonvbere subsequently recommended six steps to be taken to ensure the smooth and safe conduct of the exams.
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