Senator fears collapse of education sector as school closure continues

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Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Akon Eyakenyi, has expressed worries over the imminent total collapse of the Nigeria’s education system if the country did not devise a strategy for schools to resume.

Presiding over a stakeholders meeting organised by the senate panel on Wednesday, Eyakenyi, who said third term was almost running out and the long vacation was at the corner, added that “by September, the school session is supposed to resume, if the children lose a session, how do we make up.”

The lawmaker said the country could not just stay aloof and do nothing because of COVID-19 and let the children remain at home without going to school as that would be a recipe for the education system to totally collapse.

“There must be a modality. Just as churches and mosques can go back with guidelines of distance spacing, what stops the school from doing so?

“A classroom that can take 40 students, for example, why don’t we cut it in to half for 20 students to have spacing? They can go in two sets, what it takes is determination and commitment.

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“Like we agreed we cannot send all the children back to school at the same time, there is a strategy that the ministry and stakeholders are trying to put up to ensure they are taken care of when they go back to school.”

On the Almajiri system, Eyakenyi queried the parents that would go ahead to born children they could not carter for.

“Like you heard, the Almajiri issue is a socio-religious problem that needs to be tackled by the stakeholders themselves, because I cannot see why someone will bring forth children he is not able to take care of.”

She said parents should do good projection according to their income to give birth to the children they can care for.

“You should have two or three that your income should be able to handle, but you want to have 10 or 20 and have more than you can care for, and the next thing is to send them to start begging.”

Eyakenyi said state government should be ashamed of sending such children in trucks from one domain to the other.

“Where are you sending them, who are those in those states you are sending them to go and beg? You should be in a position to take care of your own children. The state government should be able to control the children, get them enrolled in school.”

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She admonished the parents to at least give their wards a meal, breakfast, and allow them to go to school.

“Maybe in the school there is provision for food, the child will eat and learn and then go back to school. They will be better citizens when they graduate either from primary school or secondary school unlike allowing them go round begging. They are not even the ones making use of this money, as they beg and gather the money, they make returns, that is slavery. It is another form of slavery in Nigeria so it should be stopped.”

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