Feelers from educationists, private schools proprietors suggest that this bold move by Sanwo-olu represents a relief for parents, students, and other stakeholders in the sector who in the last five months have had to endure school closures occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 has warned states against rushing to reopen schools. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and chairman of the PTF cited how such hasty decision escalated Covid-19 management situation in other countries.
Mustapha advised it would be in the best interest of Nigeria to stick to the pattern proven effective since the national response was launched.
Whilst the PTF does not discourage making such preparations, we need to be guided by experiences from countries such as Germany, France, the United States and the UK where opening of schools in some cities led to an increase in confirmed cases and fatalities, Mustapha. But those who spoke with Businessday believed that the move by Lagos State would help to force the issue as other states are contemplating the same.
By fixing September 14, 2020 as resumption date for tertiary institutions by Lagos State governor after due consultation, Federal Government and other state governments would have no option than reopen schools for physical teaching and learning in order to rescue the academic future of students said Uchenna Ihejirika, an educationist.
Businessday findings indicate that privately-owned universities in Nigeria are rearing to go, after meeting up with safety guideline set by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and the presidential task force. But this not so for most federal and state universities across the six-geo-political zones who are battling with basic infrastructure ASUU strike, among other challenges.
Minister of state for education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, in one of the daily briefings by the PTF, indicated that about 78 private universities have indicated their readiness for resumption, while the response from government-owned universities was still 50-50.
Nwajiuba who is optimistic that the date for resumption was around the corner, however, said the government was not going to be brandishing dates.
NUC would need to do its appraisals and bring it to me. We are waiting for the same from other tertiary institutions bodies so I can situate them and present the PTF on COVID-19. I cant give the NUC a deadline on this because our job at the ministry is to wait for their inputs. This is not a political decision alone, Nwajiuba said.