… Ministry says FG Initially Opposed Schools Resumption
The Lagos State Government has lauded the compliance level on the resumption of schools for the Second Term 2020/2021 Academic Session as “impressive,” describing the decision to reopen as “difficult,” amid COVID-19 spike in the state.
The state government in line with the Federal Government resolutions earlier announced schools’ resumption for students below the tertiary level on Monday, January 18, 2021, for the second term 2020/2021 academic session.
Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, stated this on Monday when she led a team to monitor the adherence of school administrators, teachers and students to the COVID-19 protocols across the state.
Adefisayo stressed that adherence to COVID-19 protocols has become expedient to reduce the risk of the disease and its spread to the barest minimum.
Speaking with newsmen in an interview after the tour of various schools within the state, Adefisayo, expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance, adding that the state government is very concerned about the safety of students and their teachers.
She stated that the wellbeing of students, teachers and support staff is of utmost importance, which necessitated the unscheduled visit to have a check on how learning and teaching practice is being managed amid the pandemic.
Adefisayo revealed that some students were already roaming the streets and gradually losing interest in learning which is very harmful to their growth, adding that reopening of schools had been a very difficult decision amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
She noted that most vulnerable children are really going through a tough time roaming the streets rather than concentrating on their academics.
According to her, “Many are already working children, doing jobs like mechanic, bus conductor, hawking on the streets thereby, further exposed to societal ills rather than being in schools which is a safer environment.
According to her, no face mask no entry slogan should be enforced in every school, adding that the usual morning assembly and sporting activities have been suspended till further notice.
She stressed that the Office of Education Quality assurance would always visit schools to ensure full adherence to the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.
Aside, the commissioner, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Tutor Generals/Permanent Secretaries of the Six Education Districts, Office of Education Quality Assurance and other top officials of the Ministry were also on the field across the state to ensure that maximum compliance and coordination was achieved.
Also speaking during her school’s monitoring, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Abosede Adelaja during the tour and monitoring process appreciated the resilience and steadfastness of the teachers during the period, thereby admonishing them to monitor their health very seriously and also take up the role of enforcement and compliance to the COVID-19 protocols by students.
She noted that the bulk of these efforts lies in their hands as they are the custodians of the students while at school.
The Permanent Secretary while speaking, advised the school administrators of the respective schools to regularly monitor their teachers and students closely, stressing that the state government has invested enormously in the Education Sector and owe it a duty to produce excellent students in academics and conduct.
“Parents/guardians are also saddled with the responsibility of monitoring the children/wards closely as their roles are germane and complimentary at this period. All hands must be on deck to curb the spread. The government will not relent in its efforts to fight the virus and subdue it to the barest minimum.
Adelaja stated that upon resumption, the state government provided free face masks for all students, hand sanitisers, wash hand basins and portable water in all its schools, among others.
‘FG never supported school reopening’, says minister
The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the PTF and by extension, the Federal Government, was never favourably disposed to the January 18 date for reopening of schools.
The minister said, “We sat down, looked at the figures and we took the decision that schools should not open.
“Unfortunately, we have to state this because it is supposed to be a collective decision, but you must understand that the schools we are talking about, the Federal Government has only about 100 out of thousands of schools.
“The schools are under the jurisdiction of states and just as the PTF was unanimous in saying that schools should not open, states were unanimous that schools should open.
“So, we have to compromise and as PTF we shall monitor what is happening on a daily basis. There could be some review again.”
Meanwhile, the PTF has created a special team to implement and monitor safety protocols in the states in the Niger Delta, riverine communities and along the waterways in the country.
The National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, at the media briefing said the Special Task Team on COVID-19 would be led by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Ita Enang.
Aliyu, who was represented by the National Incident Manager, PTF, Dr Muktar Mohammed, also said the team would be mobilised by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Nigerian Shippers’ Council.
Also, the NCDC called on private laboratories to support the country’s testing on coronavirus.
The NCDC Director-General, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, lamented that Nigeria unlike other countries, placed more burden on the public laboratories.
He stated, “In Nigeria, 30 percent of the over 1million tests that have been done was by the private sector. The public sector still bears the burden of testing.”
He said a framework had been developed for the private sector participation, and promised to send a team of supporters for activation of any private laboratory in any part of the country.Follow us on social media