COVID-19: How We Plan To Re-open Schools- Minister Reveals

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By Charles Otu

The minister of State for Education, Hon. Emeka Nwajiuba has given a hint about the plan of the Federal Government to re-open schools across the country after a four months lockdown occasioned by the Corona Virus pandemic.

The minister who spoke on the topic: Quality Education in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions; The Challenges of COVID-19: The way forward at a Zoom Conference while addressing participants in a seminar organized by the Nigerian Youth Congress, NYC- a reputable youth leadership organization in conjunction with the office of the Special Adviser to the President on Youths Affairs disclosed that the ministry plans to re-scale its calendar to by bringing those already in their exiting years back to the classrooms first before others.

According to him, “We plan to re-scale our Calendar, first, by bringing those already about exiting schools back to the classroom before we bring others back. This will help the government achieve social distancing especially to help tackle the pandemic”.

While counselling each State of the federation to first of all conduct a baseline survey to understudy and understand how best to tackle its education challenges, the minister rued the poor quality of teaching staff in both public and private sectors in the nation’s education.

He said some teachers in the private schools have written the Ministry over their pitiable plights of non-payment of salaries by their employers following the COVID-19 pandemic. “We are trying to see if we can provide them with some palliatives”, he passionately disclosed.

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The minister further narrated that the President Buhari administration has almost bent itself backwards to borrow money in order to solve the problem of out of School children in the North Eastern part of the country.

Earlier, the Governor of Nassarawa State, Engr. Abdullahi Sule who had spoken on how his government has tried to tackle the rut in the education sector, disclosed that his government upon inauguration had invited the UNESCO to help the State revisit its curriculum before conducting a proper baseline test for the education sector in the State to understand its basic needs.

Another Speaker, Benard Odoh, a Professor of Geo-Physics identified wrong channelling of resources budgeted funds for the education sector as a major hindrance to achieving success in the sector.

“Most of our spendings in education are not going where it should go to. And when most of the money budgeted are spent in the wrong direction, you don’t get the right result. We need to restructure because our education right now is not known to be geared towards a particular direction”, Odoh maintained.

He said in the post COVID-19 era, if Nigeria puts its education structure in the right place and resolves some of the issues, it would get the right results in the sector.

Other speakers at the conference from within and outside the country including Professors Georgewill Onwunari, Tony Ogiamen and Ernest Essien all highlighted the challenges facing the education sector in general and online teaching in particular while proffering solutions to them.

Other contributors, including the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Education, Hon. Shina Peller, Yakubu Shendam, Gbolahan Macjob among others also highlighted some of the problems hampering the education sector and made brilliant suggestions on the way the government can overcome them.

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