Kwara resumes Oct 15

Ekiti teachers adamant

By Amaka Abayomi, Gbenga Olarinoye, Daud Olatunji & Tare Youdeowei

AFTER the over two weeks of extra holiday as a result of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, EVD, schools in ten States resumed yesterday. The States include: Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Benue, Ekiti, Kano, Kogi, Akwa-Ibom, Ebonyi, and Ogun. Meanwhile, Kwara State Commissioner for Education, Alhaji Saka Onimago has directed both public and private schools in the state to open October, 15. He noted that the extention was to enable the state acquire necessary equipment and organise seminar for stakeholders.

Moreover, public school teachers in Ekiti have maintained that until the state government pays their two months salary arrears, no teacher should go to the classroom.

It will be recalled that the National Executive Council of Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, while countering government’s directive, had called on its members to ignore the September 22 resumption date, saying the date was not realistic in view of what was required to prevent theoutbreak of Ebola in the schools.

NUT’s National President, Mr. Michael Olukoya, said schools in various states would remain shut until adequate preparations had been made by the state governments for resumption, as teachers were not ready to endanger their lives and those of the school children when necessary preventive and protective measures had not been put in place.

Situation report: A visit to some schools in Lagos, Osun and Ogun states revealed that the contentious preventive measures, like running water and hand sanitisers had been provided at the entrances and other strategic places of schools.

Also, personnel to check the students’ body temperature with digital thermometers have been trained. At the schools visited by Vanguard Learning, the administrators said at least two teachers have been trained on EVD and how to handle any suspected case of the virus.

Government, NUT agree

Pointing out that everything was set for resumption, an official of Lagos State Ministry of Education said teachers had no excuse not to resume work yesterday as digital thermometers, drums of water for washing hands, hand sanitisers, among others, had been provided.

The NUT National President, Olukoya, said teachers resumed in states where safety measures are already in place and strategies on how to cover the syllabus will be worked out state by state.

The state NUT Chairman, Mr. Adesegun Raheem, said the national leadership had given members the green light to resume after ensuring that all was ready for academic activities.

Raheem said: “The NUT set up monitoring committees to ensure that the preventive materials were supplied to all schools. Though we encountered some challenges, we reported same to the government and proffered solutions to them.”

On how teachers intend to cover up the syllabus due to lost time, the Lagos State NUT Chairman said: “The number of school days missed is just 12 and we know that the first week of resumption is used in getting the schools ready for academic activities.

“Also, since school closing time has been extended from 2pm to 3:30pm to encourage reading culture in students, we intend to maximise that extra time and the last week of the term, which is for revision.” Osun: Teachers in Osun State have also joined their counterparts in Lagos and Ogun for resumption of academic activities following the distribution of digital thermometer to all public schools in the state.

Pointing out that the thermometers will go round the 1,593 public schools in the state, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Lawrence Oyeniran, said more emphasis was given to flash points local governments like Ejigbo, Ede, Iwo, Odo-Otin and Ikirun that have students that might have travelled to neighbouring countries like Cote-de-Voire, Togo, Ghana and Benin Republic during the long vacation.

With the distribution of preventive materials, the Osun State NUT chairman, Mr. Atanda Laidi, said: “The minds of our members are now at rest and we appreciate government’s effort at considering the safety of the students and teachers.

“I’ll also use this medium to appeal to government to ensure prompt release of running grants, especially now that schools are resuming for the 2014/2015 school year.”

Ogun teachers resume but

In Ogun State, both Nigerian Union of Teachers and Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools, ASUSS, had also given their members the green light to resume, with ASUSS warning that it might review its stand if its members complained about lack of or inadequate preventive materials.

Though efforts to confirm from the state Commissioner for Education, Segun Odubela, if government was ready to reopen schools proved abortive, the Ogun State NUT Chairman, Mr. Dare Ilekoya, said teachers in public schools under NUT resumed yesterday as government had put in place every needed material for the prevention of the virus.

He said: “The procurement of the preventive materials was enough reason for us to resume, though the World Health Organisation has cleared Nigeria of Ebola.”

In the same vein, the ASUSS chairman, Mr. Akeem Lasisi, said though its members in all the 473 secondary schools resumed yesterday, they are ready to down tools if government fails to provide all the materials needed.

Strike in Ekiti

In sharp contrast to their counterparts, teachers in Ekiti State did not to resume for the new academic session on Wednesday as directed by the state government.

Giving reasons for not resuming, the state chairman of the union, Mr Samuel Akosile, said asking teachers to resume for the session with empty stomach was like attempting suicide.

Akosile said: “How can we go back to work when we are being cheated? We cannot pretend that all is well when teachers are dying in silence. As we speak now, teachers have not received August and September salaries as well as the deductions in July salary.

“This made us direct our members to remain at home until we are paid because we don’t want a situation whereby teachers will either be dying on the roads or working with empty stomachs.”

Teachers, parents and students react

Excitement was in the air as pupils and students exchanged pleasantries with each other while they did their Ebola check. But same could not be said of their parents as they dropped them off.

At Ibafon Primary School, Apapa, students were given a pep talk on Ebola, washed their hands and had their temperature checked before entering their classes.

The Headmistress, Mrs Adeyemi Adenike appreciated the efforts of government in providing everything needed to curtail the spread of the virus, while the Chief Education Officer, Mr. Salau O. Kabiru, assured that the exercise would be daily and at regular intervals.

The The Headmistress, Kajola Primary School, Kirikiri Road, Lagos, Mrs Kazim A. Mariam, said “the process was smooth as all the necessary materials were provided by the government and are being fully utilized. Though the turnout is low due to celebrations, classes will commence immediately so that we can make up for lost time.”

Expressing delight to resume school, Amarachi Idenyi, a primary six pupil said “I am glad school has resumed. Ebola that has been killing people kept me from school and that made me very sad. I am looking forward to starting lessons.”

Also, Favour Obi, a primary five pupil said resuming school was one of the best things to have happened to her as she was tired of staying at home.

But some parents still have mixed feelings about allowing their kids to go to school.

speaking the minds of most parents, a mother who simply gave her name as Mummy Damian who said “though I was getting tired of my children’s restlessness at home, but I’m not so pleased to have them in school just yet as I can’t really control who they mix or play with.


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