We received the news with utmost shock that the FG mulls the postponement of resumption of schools already slated for 18 January 2021.
A lot of people greeted the announcement of the date with a lot of skeptism when it was announced by the PTF on 24 December 2020, notwithstanding, looked forward to it. Not forgetting that University students had been at home for close to 10 months partly due to COVID-19 and mostly due to ASUU strike.
When ASUU announced the suspension of her 9 months old strike, the news was greeted with excitement and enthusiasm as students were eager to resume schools immediately until the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 dashed their hopes for another 5 weeks.
Just barely a week to resumption, the minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu is again suggesting that schools be closed indefinitely in a time when students, mostly university students have lost a whole academic year.
COVID-19 has come to stay and we must learn to live with it.
Somebody asked, “what is the rationale of shutting down schools till 18 January 2021, will COVID disappear before then?” Even if schools are shut indefinitely, it does not seem like the virus will go anytime soon, even with vaccines, it takes years to vaccinate a country like Nigeria to attain herd immunity. It takes years to fight a pandemic.
And with COVID-19 which I believe is not as virulent as the government and media portray it to be and with the recovery rate high and with youth and children having better immune against it, I don’t understand why Mallam Adamu Adamu will suggest that schools which is largely made up of children and youth be shut down indefinitely.
Let us not forget he was the one in June who suggested that our children should not be allowed to write WAEC and NECO exams insisting they miss an academic year even when smaller West Africa Countries were prepared to write the exams. Shame on the giant of Africa but for the pressure of parents, some state governors and prominent persons, our children would have been denied their right to education. I am sure they are all dead from covid – 19 complications.
Mallam Adamu Adamu is grossly incompetent, bereft of ideas and innovations and should be shown the exit door.
In an age of technology, where ground breaking research on how to combat covid -19 is ongoing, Mallam Adamu is suggesting our ivory towers be locked up indefinitely with no alternative to the problem.
It seems COVID-19 is anti-education as it affects only schools. The last time I checked markets, religious centres, banks, offices, airports etc are open with large crowd with fragrant disregard to COVID-19 safety protocols yet they are yet to be shut down but schools must be closed indefinitely. This shows us one thing our government have no regard for education, besides their children school in saner climes while the children of the poor are left to bear the brunt of their irresponsible policies.
Let me remind you that during the first wave, while schools were closed, election campaign and rally held with mammoth crowd in Edo and Ondo states, one would have thought that the morgues in Edo and Ondo would be filled by now by COVID-19 related deaths but alas the states are bubbling months after the election.
Let me also remind you that while schools are closed, NIMC centres are overcrowded with complete disregard to Covid -19 safety protocols yet the centres are yet to be closed but schools must be shut indefinitely.
I am not playing down Covid -19. I believe there is Covid -19, however, it is not as virulent as our government and media has made it to be. The symptoms are milder on the youth which makes up the school population, so why shut down our schools for a virus that has an unprecedented recovery rate especially among youth.
We need our ivory towers to be open as a search for respite is being sought all over the world, alot of livelihood depends on the schools.
Kogi state should be studied to find out what they are doing right because up till now we are yet to see the devastating effect of the COVID-19 despite Governor Yahaya Bello refusing to lockdown his state, by now one would have expected to see dead bodies litter the streets of Kogi.
Schools should be opened with safety measures put in place and adhered to.
Mallam Adamu Adamu should be sacked and a competent hand with ideas on how to manage the education sector should be employed. We don’t need a man whose only idea is that schools be locked indefinitely as the minister of Education. Our schools are already in comatose state already, we don’t need to further improverish it. We need solutions not adding to the problems.
I am glad that some States have disregarded the PTF on the 18 January 2020 resumption date and I hope more States should rebel should the resumption date be extended.
Lastly, I call on students, parents, prominent persons, relevant stakeholders, activist, scholars, state governors to prevail on the FG to rescind the decision to extend the reopening of schools like they did when Mallam Adamu Adamu suggested our children should not be allowed to write WAEC and NECO exams, rather protective and safety measures should be out in place with strict compliance.
COVID-19 has come to stay, we must learn to live with it. Shutting down schools is not the solution.
Justice Ejehi Omodiagbe
writes from Zaria, Kaduna State.