By Funmilayo Adeyemi
The Nigerian Government has directed school owners in the country to meet specific guidelines by 29 July, towards the reopening of schools, at a date to be announced later.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, gave the directive in a statement signed by Mr Ben Goong, the Director Information in the ministry, on Friday in Abuja.
Nwajiuba said the ministry, having consulted widely with the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Education in Emergencies Working Group, had developed and circulated guidelines for the reopening of schools.
According to him, school owners are to prepare and comply with the guidelines.
He said schools were to undertake self-assessment and send feedback to states ministries of education, not later than July 29.
He added that consultations with relevant stakeholders would be held to review the situation and decide on a specific date for reopening or otherwise.
The Minister also said that having taken the painful, but necessary decision not to reopen schools without preparations to ensure the safety of students and teachers, the ministry had continued consultations with stakeholders, and a mechanism to assess and monitor compliance would be put in place.
“Since Tuesday last week, we have consulted widely with stakeholders in the sector, including commissioners of education in all the states of the federation and the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON).
“Others are the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools,(NAPPS), Provosts of colleges of education, rectors of polytechnics, vice chancellors of universities, some state governors, and development partners.
Commenting on WAEC, which has already released a timetable for examinations, Nwajiuba said: “We met with WAEC on Monday, and have agreed to further consult with four other countries on a new examination date.
“We appreciate the concern shown by all stakeholders and noted the divergent views expressed on the matter.”
He assured Parents that the safety of students and teachers was paramount and that the ministry was working assiduously towards the speedy reopening of schools for the exit classes to sit for their examinations.