Tag Archives: education

COVID-19: Nigerian Govt release guidelines for reopening of schools

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…says, schools to resume after COVID-19 pandemic closure


The Federal Government has released guidelines for the safe reopening of schools after COVID-19 pandemic closures.

On its official website, the Federal Ministry of Education published the guidelines and outlined actions, measures, and requirements needed for the safe reopening of schools after the coronavirus pandemic is contained.

The 52-paged communique which was signed by the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, and Minister of State (Education), Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba was developed in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Health, and health safety experts in the country.

Speaking about the guidelines, Mr Adamu Adamu said “Now is the time to plan and address the eventual safe reopening of schools and learning facilities. It will be recalled that at the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, schools and all learning facilities were closed in order to safeguard the health and general wellbeing of our children, youths, teachers, and educational personnel.

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“As a responsible government, it is also our duty to provide comprehensive guidelines for a safe and hitch-free reopening of schools and learning facilities. We do so knowing that the health, safety, and security of learners, teachers, education personnel, and families are priorities”.

According to him, the Guidelines for Schools and Learning Facilities Reopening after COVID-19 Pandemic Closures outlines key strategies for implementing safe and efficient and equitable plans for school reopening and operations.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu

Mr Adamu further noted that the document focuses on attendance, social distancing, hygiene, cleaning, and non-pharmaceutical interventions for safe and healthy school activities and programs.

The minister noted that given that COVID-19 may be with us for a while, the guidelines also highlight the urgent need to maintain and improve upon distance-learning programs, adding that the government’s aim is to identify and strengthen programs that will guarantee the recovery of learning gaps resulting from the pandemic.

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Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba gives an update on the COVID-19 situation in the country on April 21, 2020.
On his part, Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba stated that the Guidelines for Schools and Learning Facilities Reopening after COVID-19 Pandemic Closures is a strategy document developed to provide the necessary support to stakeholders for the safe reopening of schools and resumption of academic activities.

Mr Nwajiuba said the development of the guidelines involved a series of meetings, consultations, and deliberations with relevant groups, associations, and stakeholders on key areas of concern as the government plans to reopen schools and the best response strategies.

He noted that efforts were made to ensure that all inputs and suggestions
from our development partners, donors, civil society organizations, and professional bodies are adequately reflected to address critical issues of health, safety, and quality education provision as schools get ready to reopen.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: US presses again for school reopening amid threat

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The Trump administration on Sunday again pressed for full school reopenings in the fall, even as resurgent COVID-19 infections and a record spike in cases in Florida raised mounting questions about the risk of a premature return to classes.

With the virus setting new records by the day in many parts of the country, a top health official warned that “everything should be on the table” and even US President Donald Trump wore a mask in public for the first time.

Florida has been especially hard hit. The southeastern state reported 15,299 new cases in a single day, the highest one-day total of any state to date -- and more than all the cases yet registered in South Korea.

But in two television interviews Sunday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos insisted on the need for schools to reopen, even as several states were registering record numbers of coronavirus cases and hospitals in many cities were struggling to cope.

“Kids need to get back to school, they need to get back in the classroom,” DeVos said, while acknowledging that local conditions should be taken into account. “Families need for kids to get back in the classroom. And it can be done safely.”

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Yet, another administration spokesman cautioned Sunday that some areas might need to return to lockdowns.

Admiral Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary of health, said that with COVID-19 deaths continuing to rise, “everything should be on the table.”

“We’re all very concerned,” Giroir added on ABC’s “This Week,” as he called for the re-closing of bars, greater spacing in restaurants and the near-universal wearing of masks in the areas most afflicted, largely in southern states that reopened aggressively.

PRESSURE FROM TRUMP

The pressure to reopen schools has come from the top, with Trump threatening to withhold federal funding from schools that refuse to reopen — a stance that DeVos reconfirmed.

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Trump has criticized guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control for the safe reopening of schools, saying they were too rigid and too expensive.

But many school systems say the safety of millions of students, teachers and staff can be ensured only with some combination of remote and in-person schooling — or in some cases remote-only teaching — and that a fully in-person approach, to be safe, would impose extreme costs.

DeVos was pressed as to whether the government would actually withhold federal funds from schools, which generally account for around 10 percent of local school budgets — a substantial contribution at a time when reopening costs for larger school systems can run to the millions.

“There is no desire to take money away,” she said. “In fact, we want to see schools open and have been committed to ensuring the resources are there to do that.”

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‘MALFEASANCE’

But in a Fox News interview, she was more direct, explicitly saying that if school don’t reopen, they should not receive federal funds.

That drew a sharp retort from a top Democrat, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who called DeVos’s remarks “malfeasance and dereliction of duty.”

“They are messing with the health of our children,” she said.

“We all want our children to go back to school. Teachers do, parents do, and children do. But they must go back safely.”

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The surge in coronavirus cases has pressed some governors in hard-hit southern states to retreat from their earlier efforts to reopen their economies, with some now embracing the wearing of masks.

Governor John Bel Edwards of Louisiana, a Democrat, on Saturday imposed a mask-wearing requirement for most circumstances and ordered bars re-shuttered.

Trump on Saturday wore a mask in public for the first time during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, after downplaying the practice for months in defiance of his health advisors.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams, in a reversal of tone, wore a protective mask during a television appearance Sunday, and Giroir separately emphasized the importance of masks.

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“For this to work we have to have 90 percent of people wearing masks in public in the hot spot areas,” Giroir said.

“If we don’t have that we won’t get control of the virus.

“It’s absolutely essential.”

The United States is the hardest-hit country in the world, with around 135,000 deaths and more than 3.2 million confirmed cases. Seven states set one-day death records this week.

Intensive care units in many hospitals are operating close to capacity, and there were reports in Arizona of local authorities procuring refrigerated trucks because morgues were being overwhelmed.

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Giroir stressed that progress is being made in some areas, with more testing and new treatments available.

But amid the record-setting rise in cases, he acknowledged that “we expect deaths to go up over the next two, three weeks before this turns around.”

The administration is preparing for a challenging time in the fall, Giroir said, with the coronavirus likely resurging even as flu returns.

“There are some data that you can get both at the same time,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] Group of Parents meet with FG over School resumption

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The National Parents Teachers’ Association of Nigeria has said it is confused about the proclamation by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, that schoolchildren nationwide would not be allowed to sit the West African Senior School Certificate Examination slated for August 4 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NAPTAN National President, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, in an interview with our correspondent on Thursday, said the association had resolved to meet Adamu by Monday to seek an amicable solution.

NAPTAN had in the last week of May called on the government to reopen schools nationwide “to pupils who will be sitting external examinations of the West African Examinations Council and the National Examinations Council.”

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu

The association said parents had resolved to work together with schools to put measures in place such as the provision of face masks, handwashing containers and hand sanitisers to minimise the risks of virus contraction by the pupils.

Reacting to Adamu’s directive that pupils would not be able to sit the WASSCE this year, Danjuma said parents were confused and that they would seek an audience with the government on the matter.

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He said, “Surprisingly, we heard from the Federal Ministry of Education that the government has suspended the reopening of schools. This is very confusing; we don’t know what to do. We are waiting for whatever will come after this.

“On our side at NAPTAN, we are planning to go to the ministry and meet with the minister or his representatives to hear from them. It should be on Monday.”

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, had during the press briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 last Monday announced that the 2020 WASSCE conducted by WAEC would hold between August 4 and September 5.

But Adamu said on Wednesday that all federal schools would remain closed until it was safe to reopen them. He also urged state governments that had announced school resumption plans to rescind such.


#Newsworthy…

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Discard ministers for school resumption halt – Afenifere tells FG

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The pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere has condemned the decision of the Federal Government that schools should remain closed in the country until further notice.

The group called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the ministers of education for planning to ground education for a year.

The Secretary-General of the association, Bashorun Sehinde Arogbofa, said the Federal Government should have allowed pupils to resume and find means of protecting them against coronavirus disease.

He said, “Adamu Adamu should be sacked, he cannot bring our school system back to the stone age. They had about six months to plan for these children what did the Federal Government do?

“It means the two of them (Adamu and the Minister of State for Education) don’t know what they are doing, so they should go. I think the two ministers in the ministry should go. Why would one say the pupils should resume to take their paper in August and the other minister would come and reverse the order?”


#Newsworthy…

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ANCOPPS: We don’t understand FG’s U-turn on WAEC

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Principals of secondary schools nationwide under the aegis of All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) have also expressed surprise over Minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu’s announcement on Wednesday withdrawing all the SS3 students in all the 104 Federal Government colleges nationwide from participating in the forthcoming West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) being conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

It said the association was fully represented at the education stakeholders’ meetings on Tuesday where they were all voluntarily agreed that WAEC could go ahead with its pending exam with all safety guidelines and protocols applied.

The national president of the association, Mr Anselm Izuagie, said this in an exclusive interview on Thursday, noting that the sudden twist by the government on the exam is still baffling them more than 24 hours after the minister’s pronouncement.

He said both the Federal and various state government had representatives at the said meeting with the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, as the chairman.

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He added, “The representatives of WAEC, National Examinations Council (NECO) and the National Board for Technical Education (NABTE) and other critical stakeholders in the sector were also in attendance.

“We all reviewed and considered the safety of everyone who would be involved in the exam and promised that all hands would be on deck to ensure no lapses is recorded only for the minister to announce the contrary the following day. That is why the news is shocking to us and also confusing.

“But all the same, we ANCOPPS will meet tomorrow with the NUT to review the whole issue and take position and make it public.”


#Newsworthy…

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Makinde ignore FG – insist Oyo WAEC will hold

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Oyo State government has announced that SSS3 students in the state would continue their preparation for the examination, despite the federal government’s stance on 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

The state commissioner for education, science and technology, Olasunkanmi Olaleye, said that Governor Seyi Makinde-led government is still assessing the situation. The commissioner, however, noted that the state’s schools remained open with students in SSS3 continuing preparation for WASSCE.

The minister of education, Adamu Adamu, had on Wednesday, July 8, noted that the secondary school students preparing for their final examinations would not be able to return to school any time soon because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Speaking with journalists in his office, on Thursday, July 9, on the latest federal government’s position, Olaleye said that the state was also watching out for the reaction of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to the development. While acknowledging that WASSCE was a critical part of education for all students in the state, Olaleye pointed out that the state would make its position known based on its assessment of the prevailing situation.

Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde

While stating that the federal government’s directive was specifically for its schools, Olaleye said the state’s schools remained open in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. “I listened to the federal minister of education and he was emphatic about FG schools. We have resumed in Oyo state and you must have seen the level of compliance to COVID-19 protocols by our schools.

“If you go to our schools, you will see that our senior students are still learning and the preparation for WAEC is ongoing. The examination is part of educational development. So the state government will assess the situation especially because of the fact that WAEC is an integral part of educational development hence it cannot be ignored. “WAEC is a regional examination that involves five countries so we are waiting for the reaction of WAEC. The state government will then assess the situation,” Olaleye said.


#Newsworthy…

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Resumption of schools not possible anytime soon – FG says

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The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu has cancelled the reopening of schools, stating that its unsafe for Nigerian students.

Addressing State House correspondents after the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in Abuja on Wednesday, Adamu stated that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) cannot determine the resumption date of schools for Nigeria.

Adamu said the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, was misquoted when he spoke on the matter during a Presidential Task Force Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday.

Nwajiuba was reported to have announced that school facilities would be made available for revision classes ahead of the examination which commences from Aug. 4 through Sept. 5, and called on parents to take note of the date.

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Adamu, however, said that Nigerian schools will not reopen any time soon until it is safe to do so because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has therefore said that final year students preparing for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) will not be allowed to return to school contrary to what had earlier been believed.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu

He said he would prefer that Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers.

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Adamu appealed to States that have announced the resumption of school in their states to reconsider their position so as not to jeopardize the lives of the students, adding, “It is not safe to reopen schools now.”

“Schools under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Education will not reopen on Aug. 4 or any time soon.

“Our schools will only open when we believe it is safe for our children and that is when the situation is right, not when the number of COVID-19 infection is going up in the nation.

“So, I just want to make that clear.

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“We will not reopen schools now for examinations or any other reason unless it is safe for our students; even WAEC because WAEC cannot determine for us what we do. So schools will remain closed.

The minister frowned at the way and manner WAEC was handling the issue of the examination timetable, saying the ministry of education was consulted before the announcement of the new date for the exams.

“Yesterday we called a meeting of stakeholders to tell us their situation and what needs to be done in order to reopen schools but while the meeting was going on, WAEC announced that they will start exams.

“So let’s see who they are going to start with,” he said.

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“I feel responsible for the whole children in Nigeria not just those in Federal government-controlled schools. Please let’s save our children from this.

“You can look at this scenario; just one infected child going into a class, can infect everyone in the class and after classes, they go back to the hostel; because children cannot observe social distancing as expected.

“If one child in the hostel is infected, the next morning everybody will be infected so this is not the right time to open schools,’’ he said.

He, therefore, maintained that final year students preparing for the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) would not be allowed to return to school contrary to the earlier announcement.


#Newsworthy…

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No Schools will participate in WAEC Exams under my ministry – Adamu

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The Minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu has just announced that no Unity Schools will participate in the scheduled WAEC exams.

Mr Adamu stated this after the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday.

He said that none of the schools under his ministry will resume until schools are considered safe.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.

The Minister urged the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and the state governments to reconsider their decision to open for exams.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Donald Trump says schools must reopen in U.S

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Trump downplays risk of the coronavirus, announces plan to push states, localities to reopen schools in September.


President Donald Trump downplayed the continuing risk of the coronavirus in the United States and pressed his case for reopening schools on Tuesday.

“What we want to do is get our schools open,” Trump said at a White House event attended by First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and education and public health leaders.

“We are very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools to get them open,” Trump said.

Trump cited advances in therapies for COVID-19 and asserted deaths from the virus are declining even as the numbers of confirmed cases have surged across the southern US from Florida to California.

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As the coronavirus pandemic hit the US in March, states and localities nationwide shutdown public and private schools affecting more that 55 million students. Now authorities are trying to figure out how to reopen for the next school year.

“We can reopen our schools safely with what we know,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, citing forthcoming therapeutics now being tested.

US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told US state governors in a conference call on Tuesday that the Trump administration will press to reopen schools [REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo]

In a conference call with US state governors, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday assailed plans by some local districts to offer in-person instruction only a few days a week and said schools must be “fully operational” even amid the coronavirus pandemic. Anything less, she said, would fail students and taxpayers.

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DeVos made the comments during a call with governors as the Trump administration launched an all-out effort to get schools and colleges to reopen. Audio of the call was obtained by The Associated Press.

“Ultimately, it’s not a matter of if schools need to open, it’s a matter of how. School must reopen, they must be fully operational. And how that happens is best left to education and community leaders,” DeVos told governors.

Harvard University announced July 6 that its freshman class will be invited to live on campus this fall, while most other undergraduates will be required to learn remotely from home. Harvard officials decided to allow only 40 percent of undergraduates on campus in an effort to reduce density and prevent the spread of COVID-19. All classes will be taught online, however.

“I see that Harvard announced that they’re closing for the season or for the year. I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s an easy way out. They ought to be ashamed of themselves,” Trump said.

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The University of Alabama system has announced plans to reopen three campuses in the fall relying on a contact-tracing app on students’ smartphones, masks and mandatory health checks. The chancellor of the University of Alabama, Finis St John IV, attended the White House event with Trump.

Trump has insisted that schools and colleges return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. He said Monday on Twitter that Democrats want to keep schools closed “for political reasons, not for health reasons”.

“They think it will help them in November. Wrong, the people get it!” Trump tweeted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out guidance for schools last month, including staggering schedules, spreading out desks, having meals in classrooms instead of the cafeteria, adding physical barriers between bathroom sinks and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.

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In the call with governors, DeVos slammed districts that plan to offer in-person instruction only a few days a week. She called out Fairfax County Public Schools, which is asking families to decide between fully remote instruction or two days a week in the classroom.

“A choice of two days per week in the classroom is not a choice at all,” DeVos said, noting that the district’s distance learning last spring was a “disaster.”

United States President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump hosted an event on reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

DeVos said she was disappointed in schools across the US that “didn’t figure out how to serve students or who just gave up and didn’t try”. She said several state education chiefs told her that they also were disappointed in districts that did “next to nothing to serve their students”.

The same thing can’t happen again this fall, she said, urging governors to play a role in getting schools to reopen.

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“Students across the country have already fallen behind. We need to make sure that they catch up,” DeVos said. “It’s expected that it will look different depending on where you are, but what’s clear is that students and their families need more options.”

Trump suggested officials who advocate keeping schools closed are doing so for political motives.

“We don’t want people to make political statements or do it for political reasons, or think it’s going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed. No way,” Trump said.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) branch of the Department of Homeland Security issued new rules on July 6 saying international students must leave the US if classes are online.


#Newsworthy…

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US to withdraw foreign students’ visa

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News from the United States of America have it that foreign students will not be allowed to stay in the country this autumn if their universities have moved classes fully online, unless they switch to a course with in-person tuition.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said people could face deportation if they do not comply with the rules.

Many universities are moving classes online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Large numbers of foreign students travel to the US to study every year and are a significant source of revenue for universities as many pay full tuition.

Harvard has announced all course instruction will be delivered online when students return for the new academic year, including those living at the university.

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The Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which is run by ICE, had permitted foreign students to continue with their spring and summer 2020 courses online while remaining in the country.

But Monday’s announcement said foreign students who remain in the US while enrolled in online courses and fail to switch to in-person courses could face “immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings”.

The rule applies to holders of F-1 and M-1 visas, which are for academic and vocational students. The State Department issued 388,839 F visas and 9,518 M visas in the fiscal year 2019, according to the agency’s data.

According to the US Commerce Department, international students contributed $45 billion (£36 billion) to the country’s economy in 2018.


#Newsworthy…

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WAEC set to release fresh timetable for 2020 Exams

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The West African Examination Council is set to release a fresh timetable for the 2020 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.

This followed an announcement by the Federal Government that the examination would commence from August 4 through September 5.

Speaking at a Presidential Task Force Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said school facilities would be made available for revision classes ahead of the examination.

Nwajiuba advised parents to take note of the date, noting that “as soon as we conclude WAEC, we will take up the NABTEB and NECO exams.”

He added, “The idea is that we have a month from now till then. Those who can and those who are willing, the states who are willing should make their schools available for their children to revise.

“We’ve done the most we can to talk with our representatives at WAEC and this (Monday) afternoon, we confirmed dates allotted for the exams will be from the 4th of August through to the 5th of September. “Local timings will be published.”

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The minister, therefore, urged all candidates to start preparing for the examination, saying, “We will be asking that those who are not prepared yet should please go and prepare.

Subsequently, WAEC Nigeria stated via its Twitter handle, “The Head of the Nigeria National Office of WAEC, Mr Patrick Ehidiamen Areghan will address the Press tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. #StayTuned #WASSCE2020 #Timetable”

Also, speaking in a telephone interview with newsmen on Tuesday morning, the Head, WAEC Public Affairs, Mr Damian Ojijeogu, said Ehidiamen would address a number of issues regarding the 2020 WASSCE.

He said aside from the timetable, health and safety guidelines would be issued including the mandatory use of face masks for all candidates, temperature checks, use of sanitisers, amongst others.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Students in Kenya to repeat classes in 2021

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Kenya on Tuesday declared that its school year was considered lost because of the coronavirus pandemic, and primary and secondary pupils would return to class next January.

The school year in the East African country runs from January to November, when it climaxes with end-of-term exams.

But Education Minister George Magoha said in a statement that the curve of COVID-19 infections was expected to flatten only by December.

As a result, no primary and secondary school examinations will be held and “the 2020 school calendar year will be considered lost due to COVID-19 restrictions”, he said.

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Kenya closed schools on March 15 when it had only three confirmed cases, among a raft of measures taken that month including a nighttime curfew to combat the spread of the virus.

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday announced a “phased reopening” of the country, with international flights resuming on August 1 and the lifting of internal travel restrictions that had cordoned off the capital for four months. The 9pm to 4am curfew will remain in place.

Education Minister George Magoha PHOTO:Lucy Wanjiru / Nation Media Group

However, cases are surging, with over 8,000 reported infections and 164 deaths.

“Faced with this uncertain environment, the stakeholders have resolved to reopen all basic education learning institutions in January 2021,” said Magoha.

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“This is based on the assumption that the infection curve will have flattened by December, 2020.”

The decisions “will apply to all children,” the statement said, specifying that this included schools offering an international curriculum.

Initially, Kenya had planned to reopen schools in September for those in their final years of primary and secondary school to allow them to take their exams, however, the mounting infection rate resulted in the shelving of this plan, the statement said.

The re-opening of universities will take place on a “case-by-case” basis, and the institutions were encouraged to consider phased re-opening and continue holding virtual classes and graduation ceremonies.


#Newsworthy…

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We’ll ensure smooth start of college of education – Osun, Oyetola

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Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun says his administration will ensure smooth and effective take-off of the proposed Federal College of Education in the state.

Oyetola said this when members of the technical team of the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Commission for Colleges of Education visited him on Saturday in Osogbo.

The governor said the state government would do everything possible to support the Federal Government in its plan to establish the college in the state.

Noble Reporters Media gathered that Federal Government had, in January, approved the establishment of six federal colleges of education in the six geo-political zones of the country.

NRM also learnt that Osun in the South-West is one of the beneficiaries, with the college sited in Iwo, Iwo Local Government area of the state.

Oyetola, who described education as the bedrock of socio-economic development of any society, said that the establishment of the institution in the state would complement his administration’s efforts at providing quality, qualitative and functional education.

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According to him, the establishment of more colleges of education in the country will further contribute significantly to the development of vocational and technical education in the country.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and those who worked for the consideration of the state as one of the beneficiaries of the institutions.

“This is a rare privilege and we will continue to take it as such, because we are not the only state in the South-West.

“So, for something of this magnitude to come to our state, we are very grateful to Mr. President, and we will ensure its smooth take-off,” the governor said.

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In his remarks, Prof. Bappa Aliyu, the Executive Secretary of National Commission for Colleges of Education, said members of the team were in Osun to inspect both the temporary and permanent sites of the institution.

Represented by Mr Ojo Samuel, the Director of Tertiary Education, Aliyu said that the visit was in fulfillment of the Federal Government’s commitment to promoting quality and functional education in the country.

“As a government, we are doing everything possible to improve the quality of education in the country and ensure that the people have unfettered access to education.

“We are also working hard to ensure the provision of competent teachers in all our colleges of education,” he said.


#Newsworthy…

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NLC calls for Educational stakeholders meeting amid school reopening

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has urged the Federal Government to bring all stakeholders in the education sector together to deliberate on the way forward before re-opening of schools across the country.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President, said this in a communique he signed on Friday in Abuja at the end of a joint meeting of the congress affiliates union in the education sector and the NLC Education Committee.

Wabba said the meeting was to brainstorm on measures to be put in place before schools in Nigeria could re-open given the prevalence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to him, the congress is of the view that the schools should provide adequate infrastructure to ensure effective enforcement of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) protocols and guidelines on COVID-19.

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“Re-opening of schools need to be done with due diligence and utmost precaution given the overcrowded nature of schools at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

“Government should bring all stakeholders together the primary and secondary education sub-sector comprising the unions, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Parent Teachers Association (PTA), Committee of Vice-Chancellors/Provosts of Polytechnics and Colleges of Educations.

“All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCPSS) should deliberate on the way forward on re-opening of schools,” the labour leader said.

He said there was need to create a post COVID-19 re-opening plans and strategies based on the NCDC protocol and guidelines.

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”There is need to re-adjust the federal budget for education and implement measures to assist institutions with financial burden of managing COVID-19,’” Wabba said.

The NLC president also said that staff of health centres in universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, secondary and primary schools teaching and non teaching staff should be trained on handling of pupils and students.

NLC President Ayuba Wabba

He noted that it was important to adopt phased/structured education activities, adjust exams and lecture or teaching time.

He called for a National Safe School policies to assist education institutions in conducting risk assessment audit of schools in the country.

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He said that the outsourcing policy of security personnel and cleaners should be revisited, especially in institutions of higher learning to enable them have full control of the workers.

He added that this was very important as the private cleaners and security personnel could not guarantee the health and safety of staff and students.

“There is need to provide Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers and other essential workers for their safety and protection.

“We call for the immediate release of intervention funds to all institutions to enable them provide needed safety measures.

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“Apparently, there is need for expansion of classrooms to ensure observance of the social distancing protocol,” he said.

On crisis, Wabba appealed to the federal government to address the lingering industrial crisis in the higher institutions posed by the Integrated Payroll Personnel System (IPPIS).

He noted that the IPPIS issue has the potential of affecting any attempt at re-opening of schools.

”There is need for an elaborate plan to determine the duration of classes, and sitting arrangements to avoid infection.

“There is also need to ensure general decontamination or fumigation of entire premises and buildings, including student’s hostels, classrooms, staff offices, business premises, lecture halls/theatre, health centres and clinics.

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“Additional employment of teachers to enable effective teacher student ratio based on the social distancing protocol and provision of out-door learning environment for kids,” Wabba said.

The NLC president also called for the strengthening of e-learning facilities in primary and tertiary institutions through provision of customised electronic devices to all staff and students.

”This is in order to complement traditional class settings and achieve physical distancing,” the labour leader said.

He said that internet bandwidth should be provided in all institutions and to be deployed free to members of staff and students within and around the school premises.

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Wabba noted that COVID-19 committee should be put in place in schools to ensure strict compliance with protocol and guildlines of reopening schools.

“This committee will be charged with the responsibilities of ensuring strict compliance with the safety measures and enforcement of regular hand washing with water and soap and hand sanitizer.

” The committee will also enforce daily disinfection and cleaning of school surfaces and compulsory use of face masks by staff, students and visitors,” he said.

The NLC president added that the schools should put in place transparent post COVID-19 plans, including isolation of staff and student who manifest the symptoms of the disease or who have tested positive, without creating stigma around them.


#Newsworthy…

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Graduating students in Lagos to resume on August 3rd – Sanwo Olu says

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Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has announced August 3 as the new date for the partial resumption of schools in the state.

Announcing the date at a media briefing on Friday, the governor said the resumption is for those in SSS 3.

According to the governor, the decision was taken after a meeting with stakeholders in the education sector.

He, however, clarified that though schools would be reopened for the transitional classes on August 3, students in Senior Secondary School three and Technical School three would resume first.

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He added that pupils in primary schools and Junior Secondary School three students would resume school a week or two weeks after the SSS3 students’ resumption.

The governor asked school authorities in the transitional classes to ensure adequate preparation for resumption ahead of August 3.

He said, “Tertiary institutions will remain closed. We continue to support online teaching during this period.

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“However, students in the transitional classes who have mandatory public examinations ahead of them will be permitted to resume for revision classes and examinations. The commencement date for this will be from Monday, August 3rd.

A file photo of Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Photo: Twitter-@jidesanwoolu

“All educational establishments are to follow the guidelines for the reopening. We just finished a very serious with stakeholders in the educational sector for the reopening.

“SS3 and TECH three students are to start; for JSS3, and primary six they will wait for about a week or two before resumption.

“This permitted opening will for only day schooling. No boarding activities are permitted during this time. School authorities are expected to prepare well from now till August 3.”


#Newsworthy…

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Nigerian govt ask students in Pry 6, Jss 3, Sss 3 to resume

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The Federal Government on Monday announced that students in graduating classes in primary and secondary schools are allowed to resume classes in preparation for the various examinations.

The students expected to resume are in Primary 6 who are to write the Common Entrance Examination; Junior Secondary School 3 students and Senior Secondary School 3 students.

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) announced this in its daily briefing in Abuja, adding that though it asked those categories of students to resume, students in other classes are not allowed to resume.

Chairman of the PTF and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, while disclosing this, also said the students will be made to put on face masks compulsorily and observe all other protocols.

Details later…


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Majority of Nigerian parents unhappy with School reopening

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While private school owners are raring to go and re-open schools, most parents are not ready yet to release their children into the Covid-19 uncertainties out there.

The federal government has revealed that 80 per cent of parents have kicked against the reopening of schools.

According to State Minister of State for Education Emeka Nwajiuba, a survey by the ministry showed that most parents are opposed to schools reopening at the moment because they don’t want their children to be used as experiment.

“We are keeping the children at home because you can’t see coronavirus with your naked eyes and can’t know if a child is asymptomatic or carrying the virus. If he does, and he goes back and infects another person, there is no way for us to know,” the minister said of the survey.

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“If there are parents willing to experiment – to check whether it can work or not, we can invite them to a test,” the parents were quoted as saying.

South Africa, the most infected country in Africa, diced wih the idea of re-opening schools. The result was a massive protest by parents following the spread of the virus among the pupils.

Nigeria, ranking second after South Africa, currently has 22,614 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

No fewer t 7,822 patients have been discharged, while 549 have died.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Belarus commence college entrance exam

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High school students in Belarus eyeing a slot in college attended the first day of national entrance exams on Thursday.


All classrooms will be equipped with hand sanitizers, and seats will be arranged taking into account the requirements of social distancing.

According to the education ministry, a total of 64,300 people have registered for the exams, down from 76,900 in 2019. Russian, English, mathematics and biology are the most popular subjects this year.

Traditionally, the college entrance exam in Belarus begins on June 13. However, due to the coronavirus outbreak, authorities postponed the exams this year. Tests will run through July 23.

Also, COVID-19 cases in Belarus exceed 60,000.


#Newsworthy

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Storyline: Bowen sacks over 100 staff

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Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State, on Tuesday, announced the decision to sack over 100 workers.

NRM gathered that the sacked staff received their letters of disengagement through email late on Tuesday.

One of the affected staff said the school claimed that the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic was the reason for the retrenchment.

The mass retrenchment is reportedly “generating tension on the campus” and some are threatening to protest the action.

An affected staff said: “Over 100 of us are affected and we may resort to violence because the reason for the sack was not genuine.

“The Vice Chancellor, Prof Joshua Ogunwole, recently bought a vehicle worth over N42 million despite the economic situation. So you can see that it is caused by wickedness and insensitivity.”

University spokesman Toba Adaramola confirmed that the institution sacked some workers, including academic and non-academic staff. He said about 8-10% of the workforce was affected.

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He said: “The decision affected those in academics and non-academic staff.

“In August 2018, it was discovered that the university is heading toward inflection point and the management deliberated on the reasons for the inflection.

“It was discovered that change of culture was part of the problem. Hence we embraced technology and so many staffers were no longer needed to perform certain duties.

“Although it is a painful decision but one that is necessary to sustain the university since it is not public institution that can rely on any subvention apart from the fees it charged its students.”


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: Nigerian Govt reveal guidelines for School reopening

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The Federal Government on Wednesday proposed that schools must create isolation spaces before reopening the learning facilities.

The Ministry of Education disclosed this in a document titled: “Guidelines for schools and learning facilities reopening after COVID-19 pandemic closure,” submitted to the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Each school, according to the federal government, is required to create temporary isolation spaces and fully-equipped clinics before reopening.

The government mandated the school managements to establish a referral system, including protocols and procedures to take if learners, teachers, administrators, and other education personnel become unwell while in schools.

The government also charged any state wishing to reopen schools to “hold adequate consultations with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the parents on the matter.


#Newsworthy…

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JAMB set new minimum cut off mark for all universities in Nigeria.

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The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has set 160 as the minimum cut-off mark for universities across the country in the 2020 admission session.

JAMB’s registrar Ishaq Oloyede made the announcement on Tuesday June 16, after the 20th policy meeting on admissions to tertiary institutions. The cut-off mark for polytechnics was pegged at 120, while that of Colleges of Education remains at 100 and above.

Commenting on the admission statistics for 2019, Oloyede said that 612,557 candidates were offered admission but 510,957 admission spaces remained unused by the institutions. He added that only 1,157,977 candidates who had the required five credits with English and Mathematics, sat for its Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) last year.

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Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu on his own part said he has directed JAMB and tertiary institutions to proceed with the conduct of their 2020/2021 admissions which will commence in August.

Adamu said;

“As major stakeholders, we must jointly come up with reactions that would realign our programmes to these new realities.

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“JAMB and tertiary institutions could take advantage of the current situation, consider candidates with previous years SSCE and other qualifying results, to proceed on with the admission process.

“Whatever arrangement that the country comes up with in the long run will surely accommodate those who will be taking the examination when the opportunity to do so is worked out.”


#Newsworthy…

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