United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education, has organised a stakeholders’ dialogue to review the template on school reopening towards having a minimum standard for safe return to schools in the country.
Mrs. Azuka Menkiti, Education Specialist, UNICEF, Abuja, said at a zonal stakeholders’ Dialogue School Re-Opening Readiness in Akwanga, Nasarawa State, yesterday, that the meeting was in the interest of students, teachers and other stakeholders.
Menkiti said that the dialogue was aimed at sharing and reviewing school reopening readiness template and to get the views of stakeholders and their support towards school reopening.
“Because of COVID-19, schools were close for a long time and now a lot of stakeholders feel that it is time for school to reopen and for children to get back to school. It is in view of this and in preparation that UNICEF is collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Education to organise this stakeholders’ Dialogue School Re-Opening Readiness. We are here specifically to share and review the draft school reopening readiness template as adapted from the school reopening guidelines. To agree on expected roles and responsibilities at all levels of education governance towards safe return to school.
“To commit to minimum expectations and standards for safe return to school and to agree on best decisions in learning recovery upon school resumption. And to share good practices and adapt into a nationally acceptable integrated approach to safe school reopening.”
The UNICEF education specialist solicited the support of traditional rulers, education experts and stakeholders toward achieving the aim of the dialogue.
“At the end of the dialogue, there shall be consensus on school readiness minimum standards for resumption, commitment on safe school reopening, state plans on an integrated approach to school reopening. There shall be collective agreement on key responsibilities for safe school reopening,”she said.
Minister of State for Education, ChukwuEmeka Nwajiuba, said that the decision to close schools was part of government’s strategy to curtail the spread of the pandemic as school environments were considered to be veritable grounds to spread the virus.
Nwajiuba, represented by Director of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the ministry, Mrs. Charity Ogar, said the ministry had developed the safe school readiness template for an integrated approach to safe school reopening which comes with many lessons.