By Jethro Ibileke/Benin

The management of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), has said that the institution’s academic calendar remains unchanged, in spite of the shift in the resumption date of schools by Edo State Government.

The state government had on 15 January, announced postponement of resumption of academic activities in schools across the state till February 1, over rise in COVID-19 cases.

The government noted that the suspension of order is applicable to all educational [including federal] institutions in the state.

But UNIBEN, in a statement by its Acting Registrar, Mr. C. Ehigiator, said that the postponement would not affect its academic activities as on-line classes would fully commence.

The statement said that although a federal institution located in Benin City, which acknowledged the sacrifices made by the students and their parents, the University must however adhere to all directives of the the state government.

The statement further added:

“The Governor of the state announced the postponement of Schools resumption from the 18th of January, 2021 which will be reviewed on the 1st of February, 2021.

“Students of the University of Benin are therefore not expected in the halls of residence on the 30th of January nor be present physically on the 1st of February, 2021, while management awaits a new Edo state government’s directive.

“The University’s management is committed to ensuring the provision of quality education to our own dear students without compromising on our collective safety.

“Management also recognises that students are eager to return to school for their academic activities and assures that all things possible are being done to actualise that objective as the interest of the students remains paramount.”

Meanwhile, the Edo state government has said it is fine-tuning arrangements with federal tertiary institutions in the state to allow for the reopening of the institutions for academic activities in compliance with the state’s Covid-19 protocols.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Osamwonyi Irowa, disclosed this on Wednesday in Benin.

He said that the state government will continue to implement policies to check the spread of the disease.

He disclosed that the state’s Covid-19 response team held a meeting with federal institutions in the state on the requirements for the reopening for academic activities.

He noted, “We have engaged with the various institutions to ensure that if they have to resume ahead of what has been mandated, they need to meet the minimum standard the state government has set for Edo people.

“Whether you want to hear it or not, the truth is that some of the students reside in Edo, the teachers reside in Edo, while others reside in other parts of the country from where they could actually be bringing Covid-19 into Edo state.

“Some students reside in various communities and interact with their parents. We don’t want a situation where after having done our best to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we will now record instances of imported cases into our state.

“Because of the nature of children, they are very free in relating without any worries about other people. If the institutions must resume, they have to meet all the minimum requirements which some of them have actually started implementing. The outcome of our meeting with them will determine if they would resume.”