Commissioners of Education from the 19 northern states involved in secondary school exchange programme on Friday backed the position of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu on the suspension of school reopening.
Daily Trust reports that the minister had recently announced that the federal government will not reopen schools across the country in view of the spike in COVID-19 infection cases.
Adamu had further stated that the government would not mind forfeiting the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in order to save lives.
However, a communiqué issued by the Northern states commissioners of education from the north at the end of a virtual meeting resolved that the minister’s reasons for keeping schools closed was appropriate in ensuring that children remained safe while efforts were being made to make schools safe from coronavirus.
The communiqué which was signed by the Kaduna state Commissioner for Education, Dr. Shehu Usman Muhammad who is also the Chairman, school exchange programme stated that the states will participate in WASSCE and other examinations only when it is safe to reopen schools and when coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education.
“We resolve that schools should be opened only when it is safe to do so and when states have complied with the minimum COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by the NCDC,” it stated.
He added that, “states should carry out holistic assessments of schools to determine their readiness to reopen and submit to their various state governors for consideration.
“The states must take steps to provide critical facilities required for reopening of schools as specified by the NCDC.”
The communiqué averred that, “The federal government needs to support states in putting safety measures in place for school reopening as part of its COVID-19 Social Investment Project, considering that many states may not have the financial strength to embark on such a huge capital extensive project.
This could be done with support from development partners or through loans.” The meeting had in attendance, commissioners of Education from 13 northern states including Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Nasarawa, Adamawa and Taraba states. Others include Kogi, Kwara, Katsina, Kano, Borno and Jigawa states.