By Charly Agwam, Bauchi
The government of Bauchi state, through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), in collaboration with United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has rolled out plans to educate children affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through radio/television programmes.
In his address, the UNICEF Chief of Field Office Bauchi, Mr Bhanu Pathak, noted on Wednesday that the education programme which is sponsored by USAID and other development partners is expected to reach 1.7 million children across Bauchi state.
Pathak who commended the State government on its response to the novel Coronavirus pandemic said the government took the right step when it closed all private and public schools; including asking workers from levels 1 to 12 to remain at home.
“Since the government in its wisdom shut down schools in the state as a result of COVID-19, millions of school children and their staff at all levels are currently staying home to stay safe. With the indefinite closure of schools, not only are children missing out on education, which is a fundamental human right, children are being exposed to more risks of educational set back such as examination failure, and have also been uprooted from their schools where they could have been taught and sensitized on COVID-19 prevention and stemming its spread.
“Consistent with our mandate as the UN agency for the promotion and protection of the rights of children, UNICEF is collaborating with government and other partners to fulfil its primary responsibility of ensuring that children continue with their education during the duration of the COVID-19-induced schools’ closure; and a safe return to school when the situation is over.
“To this end, in collaboration with Bauchi SUBEB, education institutions and two Bauchi state government-owned broadcast media organisations, UNICEF has provided technical support for the development of education sector COVID-19 contingency plan as an integral part of Bauchi state response plan to ensure the continuation of teaching and learning while children are at home as a result of COVID-19 outbreak,” he said.
On his part, the Executive Chairman of SUBEB, Abubakar Surumbai, pledged his support for the success of the education programme.
Vanguard learned that the lessons will run from Monday to Friday on both Bauchi Radio Corporation; the 12 community radio stations in Bauchi State; and Bauchi State Television; between 8:00 and 11:00 in the morning; and between 5:00 and 6:00 in the evenings.