The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, yesterday said the federal government is yet to set a date for the resumption of schools, stressing government is waiting to know how the COVID situation will be contained.
Nwajiuba who was speaking on Channels Television News at 10, said;
“there isn’t a given date set for the resumptions of schools, what we have is a situation where all of us are waiting to have the COVID situation pans out, what we are certain and what everybody knows, is that we do not intend in any way to put our children at risk, it is important that all of us agree that in doing this, how we bring children back to school will be in their best interest and the best interest of the nation. We at the ministry of education had before now worked on a couple of programmes as to how education can be enhanced around the country.
Ministry of education and the beautiful team we have, had done a lot of work with the plaining of online studies for every child, this was an attempt to expand the ability of Nigeria to educate its citizen with the limitation of class size and infrastructure, this has already been developed, the government is even ahead of most countries when we were met with this COVID situation, we were more or less a bit prepared, the preparation was in terms of proper content policy.”
The Minister further explained that UBEC, SUBEB, and the Federal Ministry of Education are working in collaboration for a seamless operation of the e-learning system in Nigeria.
“ we get in touch with all the states SUBEB, marshaled them under the ministry’s ICT point, which is held in the ministry of education website, and then use that channel to have all our content send to the states. The states through their SUBEB who already received something from the UBEC will then continue with further dissemination.
All the 36 states are now online doing some form of broadcasting, some are using local Tv, some are using local radio, some can get online. Most of the people who live in the urban centers already are able to log on.
Some of these private schools can go to Google, there are many online materials that are available, and we are trying to make sure everybody is doing some form of learning.”
The Minister also admitted the difficulties faced by students in acquiring the devices needed for the e-learning system.
“the constraint is people not able to have the devices with which to even access this when we have them online, Nigeria is a huge country with almost 27 million people in school, however the number of devices that are available, we are not at a point we would like to be as a nation. It’s not just because we do not want to have them, but laptop is not produced in Nigeria, there is hardly any device that is produced in Nigeria, everything is imported.”
On whether WAEC and JAMB examinations will be shifted, the Minister said;
“ we have already done that, the first to be announced was WAEC, follow by NECO, and then NABTEB, we are now hearing from all the research available to us that children who actually have been assumed not to be really affected by this could actually be affected in different forms that we did not appreciate before, so we have shifted all the exams date indefinitely.”
In the same vein, the Minister also clarifies on speculations that the academic year might be scrapped.
“what you can’t do is that children can’t wait, the child keeps growing, if you stop one intake this year, you have suspend the growth of a whole new set, we are going to try figure out to test those who are to move to a different class.”
The Federal government of Nigeria had shut down schools nationwide as a result of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world, and e-learning system has been introduced by the government as an alternative channel for learning whilst students are at home.