The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), affiliate unions in the education sector, after a virtual joint meeting, have given conditions necessary for safe reopening of schools, amid a spike in COVID-19 infections across the country, according to Vanguard.
A communiqué signed by their President, Ayuba Wabba, recommended that adequate infrastructure needed to be provided in schools, to ensure effective enforcement of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, protocols and guidelines on COVID-19.
The labour unions, under education sector that participated in the virtual meeting include the following; Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Senior Staff Association of Polytechnics (SSANIP), Senior Staff Union of in Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCOEN), National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).
Their have been a lot of argument regarding reopening of schools in Nigeria since the beginning of COVID-19 lockdown, with many stakeholders coming up with their own different views.
However, as the debate continues, with rising cases of confirmed COVID-19 infections across the country, the labour union in the nation’s education sector, come up with these conditions necessary for reopening of all school across the country, which are summarized below;
1. Government should bring all stakeholders in the primary and secondary education sub sector; NUT, PTA, Committee of Vice-Chancellors/Provosts of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education and ANCPSS to deliberate on the way forward towards reopening of schools.
2. Educational Budget should be readjusted, to implement measures to assist institutions with the financial burden of managing COVID-19.
3. There is need to train the staff of health centres in universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, secondary and primary schools, on the new ways of handling pupils and students.
4. Adoption of phased/structured education activities, ie; adjustment of exams and lecture/teaching time tables.
5. Institutions should be allowed to have full control of the security personnel and cleaners, as private cleaners and security personnel, cannot guarantee the health and safety of staff and students.
6. Provision of personal Protective Equipment, PPEs, for health and other essential workers, for their safety and protection.
7. Immediate release of intervention funds to all institutions, to enable them to provide needed safety measures, including expansion of classrooms to ensure observance of the social distancing protocol.
8. Elaborate plan should be mapped out to determine the duration of classes, and sitting arrangements to avoid infection, and general decontamination/fumigation of entire premises and buildings, including students’ hostels, classrooms, staff offices, business premises, lecture halls/theatre, health centres/clinics etc.
9. Additional employment of teachers to enable effective teacher/student relation, based on the social distancing protocol, which includes; provision of outdoor learning environment for kids; strengthening e-learning facilities in primary, and tertiary institutions through provision of customised electronic devices to all staff and students.
10. Regular hand washing with water and soap, hand sanitisers and, at a minimum, daily disinfection and cleaning of school surfaces and compulsory use of face masks by staff, students and visitors.
Well, with the above plans mapped out by the labour union under education, all Nigerian schools will successfully resume without fear of disease contraction. Federal government of Nigeria should therefore, hasten plan to provide all these required measures as students are tired of staying at home.
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