Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education
Some residents of Abakaliki on Thursday reacted to the suspension of decision for partial reopening of schools earlier announced by the Federal Government.
Summitnews recalls that government on Wednesday reversed its earlier decision for the partial reopening of schools to enable pupils and students in graduating classes to write their examinations.
Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education announced the decision while briefing newsmen after the Federal Executive Council virtual meeting in Abuja.
According to him, the decision is hinged on the steady spike in the COVID-19 infections in the country and the desire to save the children from contracting the dreaded virus should they be allowed to go back to school.
He noted that schools would resume and children allowed to return to school only when government was certain that it was safe for schools to reopen.
The minister said: “We will not reopen schools now for examinations or any other reason unless it is safe for our students.
“Even WAEC, because WAEC cannot determine for us what we will do; so schools will remain closed.”
The residents, who spoke in separate interviews however reacted differently to the decision of the Federal Government.
Mr Albert Owo, a parent said that shutting down schools indefinitely was not the best option for the country.
He said that the decision would negatively affect the future of the school children and jeopadise their education pursuit.
“FG should not play to the gallery; suspending indefinitely reopening of schools is not the best way to handle the spread of the COVID-19.
“We must come to terms with reality of the virus and find the best way to deal with it while carrying on with normal individual and corporate lives.
“These children have been at home for over four months and the least government can do is to further keep them at home especially those of them in graduating classes.
“FG has unlocked other sectors, education should not be left out considering its importance to national development.“
He urged FG to rescind the decision and ensure that public and private schools managers comply with COVID-19 protocols for early reopening.
Mr Nelson Onwe, a retired school principal, said that government was shifting responsibility by suspending school resumption ostensibly to check spread of the virus.
“With infections on a daily rise since it was first discovered in February 27, I am of the opinion that we should admit that the virus has come to stay and the only way to deal with it is to learn to live with it.
“Is there a particular period we are sure that the virus will varnish and will no longer be in existence.
“We have had malaria, lassa fever, AIDS/HIV and so many other dangerous diseases and we have learnt to live with them, COVID-19 should not be an exception,” Onwe said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Grace Elom and Rita Egwu applauded FG’s decision to keep the schools closed until the spread of the virus was brought under control.
Elom and Egwu who spoke separately were unanimous that education was meant only for the living, insisting that the destinies of the children would not be hampered just for missing a school calendar.
“Government has taken a good decision by suspending reopening of schools. Our children will not be able to handle the COVID-19.
“It is better to be late than late because the dead will not acquire education, it’s only meant for the living.
“We support the FG and advise that they should not renege on the decision because it’s a popular decision,” they said.
Similarly, Chief Kingsley Igboke, President of National Association of Proprietors of Schools (NAPPS), Ebonyi branch, has appealed to state and federal government to give bailout to private schools to cushion the effect of the lockdown.
He lamented the hardship private schools employees were exposed to since the beginning of the lockdown, noting that the hardship would be compounded with the FG’s decision to keep schools closed indefinitely.
“Thousands of employees in private schools risk losing their jobs permanently if the lockdown in education sector continues.
“Already, many teachers and other staff of the schools have not received any salary since March. A bailout will help to rescue the private schools and their employees who have become endangered economically,” Igboke said.