By Amos Aar
As a follow-up of the recent training workshop on Covid-19 which was held across Benue state for Head Teachers and Principals of UBE Junior Secondary schools, the state Government through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) today distributed Covid-19 preventive materials to learners at these levels at LGEA Central Primary School, Makurdi.
The items distributed include buckets, assorted liquid soaps sand hand sanitizers.
State Commissioner of Education represented by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Basic Education, Dr Sarwuan Tarnongo in a keynote address said the distribution of the preventive materials to learners today was important (and not too late) as he lamented that "the virus is still with us".
"The spread of novel Corona virus disease (Covid-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 67, 557, confirmed cases. Even as at yesterday, 30th November 2020, 145 new confirmed cases and zero (0) death was recorded in Nigeria. Out of the 67,557 cases confirmed in Nigeria, 496 cases are recorded from Benue state. Health experts warmed of possible explosion of the diseases if not properly handled by government".
Prof. Ityavyar who said the Benue state Government under Governor Ortom has provided clean water by drilling boreholes noted that a lot still needs to be done in the area of self sanitation and personal hygiene, particularly to schools in remote areas.
The Commissioner urged SUBEB to keep accurate data and statistics of schools to ensure effective delivery, evaluation and monitoring of sustainable, effective public health materials in their schools. He tasked SUBEB to design a personal Health Record (PHR) book in which the medical records of each child should be stored for future reference and analysis.
In a related development, Hon. Sarwuan Tarnongo used the occasion to announce that the Friday public holidays declared by the Benue state Government from 6th November, 2020 to 29th January 2021 did not include schools. According to him, schools are part of essential services and they will not meet up with their calendar or curriculum if they are observing Friday public holidays. But hey can work on their farms during end-of-the term holidays.
Earlier in a welcome address, Benue state SUBEB Chairman, Comrade Joseph Utse who was represented by Permanent member 1 at the Board, Hon. Mike Kusah said the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Benue state Government jointly released the sum of Ten million (10,000,000) naira only for the procurement and distribution of 2, 749 hand sanitizers as well as other preventive materials to 2, 749 Basic Schools in Benue state.
He tasked the beneficiary on the judicious use of the items as demanded. He also cautioned teachers to avoid the temptation of diverting the materials as anyone caught in the attempt will be sanctioned.
The SUBEB Boss charged social mobilization officers at the Board headquarters, zonal offices and the various Local Government Education Authorities to closely monitor the use of the items to ensure that misapplication is avoided.
Comrade Utse appreciated Gov. Samuel Ortom and the Commissioner of Education for their commitment to the success of the Education Sector particularly Basic Education in Benue state.
In a remark, Benue state UBEC Coordinator, Mrs Augustina Sanchi said the Federal Government was interested in the welfare of the pupils hence the kind gesture. She advised teachers and learners to use the items well.
Speaking separately, General Manager of BERWASSA represented by the Director of Monitoring and Evaluation in the Agency, Mr Matthew Terver Ger in a Goodwill message and the Head Teacher of LGEA Central Primary School Makurdi, Sir Chia Emmanuel (KSM) in a vote of thanks appreciated Governor Ortom for his commitment to Basic Education while calling on other stakeholders to contribute their quota to safety of the learners.
Following the flag-off of the distribution ceremony today, other LGEAs outside Makurdi metropolis were urged to contact SUBEB on how to convey materials meant for them to their various schools.
Highlight of event was the commissioning of the distribution exercise by Hon. Tarnongo and the symbolic hand washing performed by stakeholders at the occasion including teachers and learners.
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