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FG Okays Re-opening of Schools August 4

By DENNIS AGORO

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The Federal Government on Monday gave the green light for schools to resume on August 4, but said this was only applicable only to students in exit classes.

The Federal Ministry of Education said students in senior secondary school (SSS) final class will have only two weeks to prepare for the West African School Certificate (WASC) scheduled to commence on August 17.

Ben Goong, Director, Press and Public Relation, Federal Ministry of Education, made this known in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Monday.

He said students would have two weeks within which to prepare for the West African Examinations (WAEC) which would commence from August 17, noting that this was part of unanimous decisions reached at a virtual consultative meeting between  the Federal Ministry of Education, Honourable Commissioners of Education of the 36 states, the Nigerian Union of Teachers, (NUT), the proprietors of private schools, and chief executives of examination bodies.

Goong disclosed that it was agreed students in exit classes should resume immediately after the Sallah break, from August 4 to enable them prepare for the WAEC examinations scheduled to commence from August 17, 2020.

He said that the meeting also resolved that a passionate appeal be made to the Federal Government through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and public spirited Nigerians for assistance to schools across the country to enable them fast track the preparations for safe reopening as agreed.

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“Another meeting is to be convened on Tuesday between the Federal Ministry of Education and chief executives of examination bodies namely, NECO, NABTEB and NBAIS to harmonise their examination dates. This date will be conveyed to stakeholders expeditiously by the Federal Ministry of Education”.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had earlier at the

2020 Policy Meeting on Admissions to Tertiary Institutions in
Abuja, urged institutions of learning to put in
place preventive measures against COVID-19 before announcing re-opening
dates.

The meeting was organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation
Board (JAMB) to signify the commencement of admissions into tertiary
institutions.

Adamu, who was represented at  by the Minister of State for Education,
Chukwwuemeka Nwajiuba, said it would be wise for all heads of
institutions in the country not to wait until formal order to reopen
schools was made, before putting necessary measures in place, in
compliance with advisories of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control
(NCDC).

“All institutions of learning must have hand washing facilities, body
temperature checks, body disinfectants at all entering points to their
major facilities including the gates, hostels, classes and offices. The
whole premises of each institution must be decontaminated and all
efforts must be geared toward maintenance of the highest level of
hygiene. Ensure social and physical distancing in class sizes and eating
spaces”.

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He had assured that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 was
working assiduously with facts and figures that reflected the realities
of the country’s current situation, a process, he said, was to enable
response to the challenge so that it could limit and manage the negative
effect of the pandemic.

Adamu had also commended institutions that responded promptly with
different innovations, including the manufacturing of some of the
facilities that were required to attend to the pandemic, and urged heads of institutions to showcase the various innovations and
submit the details to the ministry in order to honour the inventors and
as well as serve as an encouragement to others with potential.

The National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) had earlier appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider its stand on the suspension of the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSSCE).

At a virtual news conference in Lagos, Yomi Otubela, national president of the association, said a reconsideration of the WAEC organised WASSCE and the Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) by the National Examination Council (NECO), was necessary to ensure the emotional wellbeing of already traumatized students.

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He had assured that private schools under the umbrella of NAPPS were ready to resume with strict adherence to the safety protocols as rolled out by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). “To avoid emotional trauma, the SS3 students will be subjected to as a result of the cancellation of the WASSCE, we advise government to deploy the services of clinical psychologists.

 “Our call is meant for all the transitional students, both in the private and public schools, to resume early enough, for revision before the examination dates. A task force can be instituted by both the Federal and State Governments to monitor and ensure strict compliance, during the conduct of the examinations. This is considering the level of success achieved so far with the reopening of the airports for domestic flights, through strict adherence to safety protocols for passengers. We are sure that the same level of success will be recorded, when schools are reopened”.

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