The reasons why the Federal Government ordered all private and public schools across the country to resume academic activities on Monday, January 18, has been revealed.
Recall that on Thursday, January 14, the federal government had been forced by some states of the federation to agree to the reopening of schools.
Following the hike in the COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had on Monday, January 11, hinted that the January 18 resumption date earlier speculated was no longer realistic.
Despite the concern, some went ahead to reopen schools on January 11, forcing the minister to call a meeting with Commissioners of Education in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Tuesday, January 12.
COVID-19: FG Gives Nod For Schools To Resume January 18
At the meeting, the states insisted that there was no going back on January 18 date in spite of the efforts by the minister to persuade them to have a rethink because of the need to stem the rising virus cases.
A source revealed twenty-seven states voted for the resumption of schools on Monday, January 14, and four states opposed the reopening while six abstained, claiming that they had already opened classrooms for the new term.
A ministry source was quoted to have said: “At the end of the day, the Minister of Education said the will of the majority of the 33 states and the FCT should prevail and schools should reopen nationwide from Monday
“The minister has also secured the buy-in of the governors and the PTF on COVID-19 to reopen all schools. About four states wanted us to delay a bit but majority supported the reopening of schools. So, schools will resume from January 18. In every situation, you can never have 100% consensus.”
Sonny Echono, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, reportedly admitted that there was voting by states for school resumption at the Tuesday meeting in Abuja.
He said: “We had extensive discussions with governors, proprietors of schools, labour /staff unions and students’ representatives. And the consensus is that we should reopen all schools.
“The reopening of schools will be in compliance with COVID-19 protocols, especially strict adherence to non-pharmac.eutical procedures. The stakeholders have endorsed far-reaching measures.”
The permanent secretary added that owners of private schools sought assistance from the federal government to prevail on CACOVID to extend some palliatives to them.
He said: “They asked whether CACOVID can extend some assistance to them like sanitizers, masks, temperature tools, and other non-pharmaceutical items.
“They said those in the private sector can adopt some schools for assistance as part of the National Action on COVID-19. We will make all the suggestions available to the PTF.”
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