FG warns as it gives state governments go-ahead to reopen primary schools

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The Federal Government has advised state governments to ensure that adequate measures are put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic before full reopening of schools, threatening that it will not hesitate to shut any school reopened without adherence to guidelines and protocols provided by the national response.

Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, who spoke on Monday during the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 briefing in Abuja, said the state governments making move to reopen schools were in tune with the directive last week by the PTF that states and other stakeholders should prepare for the full reopening of schools.

He, however, said the universities need to get clearance from the National Universities Commission (NUC) before reopening.

Nwajiuba was reacting to a question about some state governments that have already announced full reopening of primary and secondary schools effective from September 21.

He, however, did not give specific date for full reopening schools nationwide, noting that primary and secondary education were within the purview of the state governments and that the right thing must be done to safeguard the lives of the school children before reopening.

He said: “All primary schools up to post-primary schools have the participation of sub-nationals and at that level, they need to check and meet all the requirements before they open.

“But at the tertiary level, that guidance will also be done in collaboration with the National Universities Commission so that it will give clearance that we are satisfied with your performance with regard to the guideline.

What we are doing is that we are reducing this whole gamut of document into some measurable steps towards reopening. What that means is that governing council of each institution will then review the guideline and benchmark it.

“You may have heard several states taking steps around reopening, they are all in order. This is what is expected from what the PTF said last week and following the guideline everybody will now begin the processes of reopening.

However, they must be guided because in every state we have quality assurance officers that are reporting to the Federal Ministry of Education and we will not hesitate to shut down any place that is not in compliance with guidelines.”

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