The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has insisted that the reopening of schools across the country is a dangerous idea.
The union had on Monday, June 29, 2020, urged the Federal Government to put safety measures in place before reopening schools.
On Wednesday, July 1, 2020, the national president of the union, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi maintained that the FG’s directive for schools to reopen in the face of rising cases of coronavirus in the country could endanger the lives of poor Nigerian pupils.
While featuring on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Ogunyemi wondered why the government decided to open schools without decontaminating them.
He said, “What we are trying to do now is a crash model — an experimental approach. We want to experiment with the lives of poor Nigerians — children of the poor. Many of us in my bracket — maybe middle class — our children don’t fall into that category. And that is probably why we cannot appreciate why we need to do the basic minimum.
“Are we saying that we should open schools without decontaminating the schools? For a government that could go openly to decontaminate streets, to decontaminate markets? Are lives in the schools not as valuable as those working on the streets? We need to do the basic minimum; it is not about income for teachers, income for workers here — it’s about what we need to do to avert disaster.”
Explaining why schools have to reopen on the programme, the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Sani Aliyu said it’s imperative for graduating pupils (Primary 6, JSS 3, SSS 3) to return to school because their examinations are set by external bodies.
He said, “We have a large number of students that are in the exit classes and they need to move on. These are not exams that are specific only to Nigeria but Africa — the WAEC exams. We need to find a way to safely get these students to write their exams and move on. Otherwise, we will have a serious spillover when it comes to education.
“COVID will go away eventually. Yes, it will go away, it may take a year, it may take longer but what we don’t want is to have a significant impact on our educational programmes.”