The Federal government on Tuesday gave indication that schools may be reopen on the condition that tertiary institutions in Nigeria put preventive measures that will guard against the spread of COVID-19.
Schools were shut on March 19 over the novel coronavirus outbreak, leaving the authorities to adopt alternative modes of learning for students at all levels.
The Minister of Education Adamu Adamu, in a statement at the J0int Admissions Matriculation Board 2020 virtual policy meeting, said educational institutions should not wait until the federal government announces reopening or the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) issues guidelines for their resumption before taking actions.
“I urge all the Heads of Institution not to wait till the announcement on opening before putting in place all necessary measures in compliance with the protocols and advisories of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC),” he stated.
Mr Adamu who was represented by the minister of state for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, expressed government government worriness as it concerns shutting down the educational institutions even as the Presidential Tax Force is working with facts and figures to limit the effect of the lockdown.
“The Presidential Task Force is working assiduously with facts and figures that mirror the reality of our current situation and circumstance. We are making use of them to respond to the challenges in such a way that we can limit and manage the negative effects of the pandemic,”
The Minister stated that the following conditions and measures must be put in place for schools to be reopen.
(1) Install hand-washing facilities,
(2) Have equipment for body temperature checks
(3) Provide body disinfectants at all entering points to their major facilities, including the gates, hostels, classes, offices, etc.
(4) The whole premises of each institution must be decontaminated.
(5) All efforts must be geared toward maintenance of the highest level of hygiene
(6) Ensure social/physical distancing in class sizes and meeting spaces.
The minister also commended institutions that are engaging in inventions to counter the pandemic like ventilators, sanitizers, handwashing machines among others.
“Such institutions should submit the inventions to the Federal Ministry of Education in order to name and honour some of the unique inventors. We also recommend that institutions purchase these home-made products. I am elated with the efforts that led to the production of Ventilator, Body Disinfectant, Hand Washing and Liquid Dispensers, Body Temperature Gauges, and more.”
The minister also expressed dissatisfaction with the increase in impersonation in the country
“All Institutions should ensure compliance with the timeline collectively agreed at this Policy Meeting on the completion of the admission exercise. No institution should recapture biometrics of candidates. JAMB has been directed to make biometrics available for all institutions and facial images of candidates available at no cost,” he said.
On the issue of N2,000 for Post UTME, the minister said no institution should charge more than N2000 for post-UTME, including bank charges, and no admission should be made outside the Central Admissions Processing System ( CAPS).
“The ministry is monitoring compliance and we would not hesitate to sanction anyone who violates any of these directives,” he said
The JAMB Central Admission Processing System (CAPS) is an admission processing system that is geared towards ensuring quality control, transparency and credibility of the admission process.
Speaking on sexual harassment, the minister said the current rate of rape cases calls for concern and called on security agencies and the judiciary to step-up their roles in bringing sexual offenders to book.
“As the admission process starts, everyone must play by the rules in the interest of the nation. Heads of institutions would continue to be held responsible and accountable for all actions and inactions relating to the administration of your institutions.”The minister later declared the policy meeting open.
There were unconfirmed rumours that some states were planning to reopen schools even while the government has not given directive to that effect.