Southwest states to reopen schools in August

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The six states of Southwestern Nigeria have agreed to reopen schools for SS3 students to participate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in August.

The States are Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti.

Of the six, only Lagos had earlier concretised its plans to resume earlier.

Their decision is contrary to the position of all the 19 northern states, which supported the Federal Government’s decision to suspend school reopening for SS3 students due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Federal Government also declared last week that candidates will not participate on WASCE over safety concerns.

But at a virtual meeting by the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission on Tuesday, Commissioners, Special Advisers on Education and SUBEB chairmen reached an agreement to reopen schools for SS3 students to write their final examinations.

The meeting also agreed on the needs for Southwest states to implement a 2016 plan to establish a regional examination body akin to the Interim Joint Matriculation Board (IJMB) in the North.

The plan was laid out at the roundtable on creating a collaborative framework for education development and advancement in Western Nigeria in Osogbo, the Osun State capital in 2016.

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A statement by the DAWN Commission indicated that all the states will reopen schools for SS3 students by August 3 with COVID-19 preventive measures in place.

According to the statement, the states will approach the Federal Government, at the first instance, to seek postponement of the WASSCE by at least three weeks from the proposed resumption date.

At the second instance, states are to directly approach the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to seek postponement of the examination to 24 August.

On resumption, all schools are to appoint incident managers and classroom wardens, according to the document.

There will also be designation of quality assurance department for each state to issue a safety compliance certificate to each school before reopening.

The state will also encourage intensive advocacy campaigns to stakeholders including parents, teachers, caregivers, school owners and pupils on what is expected of them when schools resume.

The meeting also called on the WAEC to encourage Computer-Based Tests (CBT) in the future.

Ebonyi considering resumption too

In a similar development, the Ebonyi state government said schools will reopen in the state between August and September.

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The State Governor, David Umahi stated this during the virtual Executive Council Meeting in Abakaliki, the state capital.

He said the reopening of schools will be done in phases.

He said: “The public should note that Ebonyi state will reopen her schools immediately, not in the month of July, we have to start the process that will lead us probably to reopen our schools between August and September”.

“And the process will be, the King David Academy will be starting first. I am directing that all the coordinators, the chairmen of all the 13 LGAs , traditional rulers, town union presidents, should use local people to clear all the secondary schools, primarily schools.They should clear that, it has been happening before, everything is not government”.

“So let us get them cleared when we do that I want Commissioner for Education, SSA Higher education, to note very specially that this is the time to develop e-syllables, starting with the teachers, this is the opportunity to develop e- learning that we have been talking about,” he added.

The Governor said the government will train the teachers and students on COVID-19 protocols before the schools resume adding that the teachers will also undergo COVID-19 tests.

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“Reopening of schools will start with cleaning of the schools, and every school we clean, we will fumigate it, and then do random test on the teachers. We will also deploy health workers to mount awareness within the communities where the school is situated”.

“When school start we will have trained personnel to teach the children on COVID-19 protocols at least for the first one week.

“This COVID is real and we need to be very careful. It is not just to start school and all that, even if Nigerians should miss one academic year and stay alive, it is worth it. The essence of everything we are doing is life, and we wouldn’t want our children to start school without proper awareness.”

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