The Federal Ministry of Education will soon roll out measures to be put in place for the safe re-opening of the nation’s schools.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman, Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, revealed this on Wednesday in Abuja at the 36th joint national briefing of the task force.
He said: “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation was faced with the challenge of out of school children.
“This has now been compounded by the compelling need for closure of schools as part of the measures to limit the spread of the virus.
“The PTF has been deliberating on this situation and wish to inform Nigerians that the Federal Ministry of Education will roll out measures to be put in place for safe re-opening of our schools.”
He assured the nation’s children, their parents and all stakeholders that all hands are on deck to reopen the schools at a safe time.
“We, therefore, use this medium to urge States, local governments, proprietors and other stakeholders to begin to take steps that will facilitate an early and safe reopening,” Mustapha said.
FG considers sectionalising classes
The Federal Government is also considering the idea of sectionalising classes for primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, gave the indication while speaking during the briefing.
While faulting the reports that schools would reopen in the country on June 8, he said the government could not afford to take any costly risk regarding the safety of pupils and students in the country.
“Until we are sure these children can go to school, return safely and not bring up with them COVID-19 and infect people who are more susceptible than they are, then we are running a huge risk and God forbid, in our hurry, something happens to our children, I am not sure how anybody will be able to retrieve what has been lost,” he said.
The minister, who noted that the decision to reopen schools would be carefully arrived at, appealed to private owners of schools to co-operate with the government in ensuring a safe reopening.
“We may have classes in the morning and classes in the afternoon so that we will have the whole of the infrastructure divided, provided they can serve us.
“I am not sure we will have classes at night but we can do with morning and afternoon for now,” he explained.
The Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON) recently appealed to the federal government to assist its members in facilitating a revolving loan scheme at a “highly reduced single rate with at least five-year interest-free moratorium”.
Before the call by APSON, other private school owners, under the auspices of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), also called for the provision of educational grants by the federal government to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic and to bail out the sub-sector from imminent collapse.