The Human Development Initiatives (HDI) has urged governments in various levels in the country to put in place necessary safety and preventive measures in schools to avoid an upsurge in cases of the coronavirus.
This was stated by Mrs Olufunso Owansanoye, executive director, HDI.
Recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria on Tuesday, August 4, announced that secondary school students in terminal classes should return to the classroom in preparation of the forthcoming West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE). With the announcement, stakeholders in the education sector expressed concerned over the assurance safety of the students as they prepare for the exams.
In her statement, Owansanoye recommends that stakeholders “needs to collaborate to build a resilient education system that is able to respond appropriately to any pandemic including Covid-19 without violating the right of a single child to basic education.
“In the context of COVID-19, education policymaking must work with existing rigorous evidence, approached with a long-term perspective that prioritizes sustainable funding for quality basic inclusive public education,” she said.
She hinted while shutting down schools or reopening of schools has its own advantages and disadvantages both have affected the schools’ academic calendar, reduced the quality of education, non utilisation of school infrastructures, teacher development and even the problem of Out-of-School children is yet to be resolved.
The shutdown of schools according to her has hindered her organisation from monitoring the Universal Basic Education (UBE) projects more difficult because contractors who do not even like to be monitored have seeming latched on the lock down situation to make school project sites inaccessible to community monitors.
“Government should engage communities on reopening plans, consistently collect real time data, target resources to where they are most needed, and make school environments safe.
“School reopening strategies should use existing data to target communities with the greatest needs – girls, pupils with disabilities, and other marginalized children,” she added.