Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba, Honourable Minister of State for Education

Government ponders sectionalising classes before reopening Nigerian schools

* June 8 resumption reports all false; we are not taking that risk yet ─Minister

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Nigeria’s Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has said that the Federal Government is considering sectionalising classes for primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions in the country ahead of the reopening of schools amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba, Honourable Minister of State for Education, disclosed this Wednesday, May 27 at the daily briefing of the Task Force in Abuja, FCT.

Nwajiuba as well discredited reports making the rounds that Nigerian schools are set to reopen June 8, 2020. They are all false, he said.

The Minister stated: “Until we are sure that these children can go to school, return safely and not bring home with them, this COVID material, and infect people who are more susceptible to the disease than they are, then we are running a huge risk and God forbid that.

“In our hurry, something happens to our children; I’m not sure how anybody will be able to retrieve what will have been lost.

“So we are not taking that risk yet. We are going to prepare as much as possible, within the guidance that they (health authorities) offer us, working in conjunction with the World Health Organisation before we reopen schools.”

While it is still currently not safe to reopen schools, the Minister stated that plans are being made to see how the system can keep running despite the pandemic.

A publication would be released shortly as to what the reopening of schools should look like post-COVID.

He further said: “We are not talking about coping with COVID; there’s a difference. We’ve come to understand that COVID may not necessarily go away.

“So we expect that we will adapt such that in the presence of COVID, we can still do what we need to do.

“For a country that has over 115,000 primary schools, you will understand that 35,000 of these who are private must agree to set up the same standard in order to allow children to go in.

“If you go to Nigerian Universities, many of the things we need for social distancing may not be available. So you may need to rethink it.

“For instance, which courses should be in school at which periods, we can have semesters within semesters for different department and faculties.”

According to Minister of State for Education, “it is the same we are planning for secondary school reopening.

“We want to bring in our JSS and SSS children first, they conclude their exams and vacate the place, then others can return.

“We will do the same thing with primary schools, where we will now limit the number of children per class.

“What this may mean is that we may have classes in the mornings and classes in the afternoons so whichever is convenient for you.

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