Nigerian Government has directed reopening of universities, polytechnic and Colleges of Education in the country.
The Nigerian Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, who announced this Friday during a press briefing in Abuja, said the decision to reopen the schools was because the COVID-19 infection figure is declining.
The federal government had ordered the closure of tertiary institutions, secondary and primary schools nationwide following the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country in March.
“We have consulted widely with stakeholders in the sector including the Association of Private Schools (NAPPS), Provosts of Colleges of Education, Rectors of Polytechnics, Vice-Chancellors of Universities, State Governors, Commissioners of Education and other development partners on the matter and secured their support and cooperation,” he said.
Adamu said adequate sanctions await any school owner that does not comply with the safety guidelines which may result in an outbreak of Coronavirus in the school.
He advised schools to be vigilant, strict and rigid in the implementation of COVID-19 protocols for the safety of the children, insisting that nothing should be taken for granted.
“Safe distancing procedures should be regularly practised. Additionally, schools should develop and display simple context-specific reference protocols on the day to day actions to be operated in each school.”
He also advised schools to make water and sanitation facilities available across the schools.
The Minister advised all institutions to adhere to the guidelines for the reopening of schools, as earlier announced by the presidential task force.
He said all unity schools should open by October 12 “while states and private schools will determine their own modalities of reopening.”
Giving a further breakdown, the spokesperson of the education minister, Ben Goong, said the Federal Ministry of Education has written to National Universities Commission ( NUC), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) and The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) to work on modalities and decide when they intend to open.
However, the Academic Staff Union of Universities Friday noted that it has not called off the ongoing strike despite the directive by the Federal Government for universities to resume, saying that the union’s ongoing strike would continue.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said “We started out industrial action before the outbreak of Coronavirus disease in the country. All the issues we raised are yet to be addressed. The government is free to open their schools, just like our members are also entitled to their dues.
“As we speak, our members are being owed between three to six months of salaries. The government’s so-called fund saving platform, the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, is a colossal failure. Apart from that, the government is yet to take any step to revitalise education sector among others.”
The ASUU chairman noted that though the union had been invited to a meeting by the government, it would wait and see what happens.
He stated that ASUU will always available for negotiation, adding that if the government did not reach an agreement with the union before the reopening date, ASUU members would not resume work.