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No Plan to Reopen Schools Now – FG

By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja 

The Federal Government has said it has no plans yet to reopen the schools explaining that the lockdown was meant to flatten the curve of the novel Coronavirus.

The schools across the country have been shut for almost four weeks.

The Minister of state, Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said this on Tuesday, at the Presidential Taskforce of COVID-19 press briefing in Abuja.

 

 Nwajiuba said the government would also be looking at what they could do for schools to reopen. 

“As you will recall that we had asked that schools vacate in the middle part of March, no it will be a congregated effort in all the states because the lockdown in various parts will definitely affect how students will go to school or not. 

“So it goes without saying that nobody can reopen schools for now except we coordinate all of our efforts.

“We are also appealing to parents to help us, the point where we are now, we are asking that students can learn online. We have made a lot of provisions for that and the directorate of ICT has opened a portal and in conjunction with UBEC as the coordinating agency, in alliance with all the SUBEBS in all the states to buy into a programming module. 

“Right now, what has happened is that about 14 or 15 states have commenced learning via different channels that are available in their state, mostly radio and local TV. What they are running is an approved Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) curriculum, everything that we said we will learn all that our teachers need to do. That is ongoing at the moment. Not all the states have stated the programme but Lagos, Anambra, about 14 of them and the run different programming times.

“We have also in collaboration with ministry of information through NTA and FRCN to escalate what they normally have as their educational content, we are still working on that. That is an ongoing programme. 

“We believe those in primary and secondary schools are already doing some sort of work with that. We are also available to them to key into things that we have, all our platforms are available to them. Our biggest challenge is to reach children who do not have devices on the fringes of our communities. And because they do not have that, that is why we are pressing on with Radio Corporation and NTA.

“We already have programmes running along those lines with adult education, we just want to distill all of that and make it available to all. As you are aware, is a concurrent matter in our constitution and therefore, we can’t unilaterally impose some level of education on states, they must be some form of buy-in. We are meeting with SUBEBs regularly so that they can do what is suitable to them. 

“On tertiary education, some private universities already have online education in which they learn. We are also making resources available, we are assisting them.

“We really must thank all participants because everybody has offered us support from content providers to online networking agents, platform providers, MTN, Glo, 9Mobile, Airtel, everyone is giving what they have. We are willing to absorb all of that and make it available to everybody with any kind of limitations that you are facing from your end. It is our work to address that, we are here to serve,”he explained.

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