Covid 19: Education Stakeholders Fine-tunes Safety Mechanism For School Reopening

Funmi Lawrence




Stakeholders in the education sector have unanimously agreed to work on the safety mechanism and precautionary measures put in place by the Federal Government towards reopening of the schools.

They agreed that no doubt the Covid -19 has disrupted the progress being made in the sector in ensuring girl-child education and as well reducing the number of out-of-school children in the country.

The stakeholders made this known at the National Education Stakeholders Discussion in Abuja on Thursday.

The discussion which was organised by Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA) has the theme “COVID 19: Towards school reopening, Mobilizing Communities on ensuring safety, compliance in school and home based learning”.

Dr Judith Giwa, UNICEF Education in Emergency Coordinator, called for the attainment of educational quality in the face of the pandemic.

Giwa noted that it was important for all stakeholders to collaborate while ensuring that no child is left behind in the policy formulation and implementation of the sector.

She also said that the problem of inequality must be addressed noting that no child should be left behind in post pandemic educational policy.

According to her, the bulk of the children are in the rural areas and even as we talk of e-learning, over 80 per cent of them have no access to personal laptop and internet facility for home based learning.

“Over 300 million children are in area where mobile network do not exist. These are the iwnequality that we must make sure we address.

” My concern is that these children in the rural areas who have no access to laptops and internet facility, were they going to write the same WAEC as children in the urban area, so this is the inequity that through education we actually struggle to address.

” A lot has been done towards school reopening, we have been working with our development partners to ensure we give them effective tools for home based learning.”

Also, Mr Femi Aderibigbe from Malala Foundation called for gender-based approach and resilience towards addressing the effect of Covid -19 on girl child education saying that girl were the most heated during the pandemic.

He noted that as a result of poverty occasion by Covid 19, some parent would result to coping mechanism by giving out their girl child out in marriage and also child trading and labour.

He therefore advocate for a12-years quality education plan for the girl child while also encouraging young mothers to go back to school.

Dr Clinton Ikpitibo, from the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), who spoke on teachers preparedness, said teachers were ready to go back to the classes.

Ikpitibo called for more training and retraining of teachers as well as more funding to meet the needs of the sector.

He therefore called on the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools'(NAPPS) to comply fully with the guidelines put in place by the Federal Government towards safe reopening of schools.

Also, Mr Godwins Yakubu, National Secretary, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS) said that teachers should be carried along in the formulation and implementation of the Covid-19 guidelines for schools.

He also noted that stakeholders must be involved before school reopening so that everyone can be on the same page and also to achieve unity of purpose.

In the same vein, Mallam Kabiru Aliyu, National Moderator, CSACEFA called on stakeholders to contribute to a more safer robust learning and teaching despite the challenges.

He called for an increase access to learning at home and as well strengthen synergy between government and Civil Society Organisations in providing quality and inclusive
learning for students in basic and secondary education.

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