Agaju Madugba, Katsina
The Katsina State Government says it will not order the reopening of primary and secondary schools in the State until the Federal Government makes a definitive pronouncement on the issue.
Speaking in an interview at the weekend, the Commissioner for Education, Prof Lawal Badamasi Charanchi, explained that the various education authorities in the country are still in the process of evaluating the situation regarding the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic when students eventually return to school.
According to him, ‘the ongoing final examinations for exit classes in schools was also designed as a test to see the possibility of students contracting the disease in the course of writing the examinations.
‘Luckily for us here in Katsina, none of the over 6,000 students from public schools involved in the examinations has contracted the disease.
‘We do not operate in isolation on the issue of when to order the reopening of schools as the governors and commissioners for Education from across the country liase with the Federal Government and I assure that sooner or later all students will be asked to return to school.’
The Commissioner noted that the performance of its secondary school students in external examinations has recorded significant improvement since the inception of the present administration in 2015.
According to him, out of the total 138,612 candidates who wrote the WAEC Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) between 2015 and 2019, 63 per cent obtained five credits including English language and Mathematics and above compared with a total of 79,044 candidates who sat for the same examination between 2008 and 2014 and got zero credits in English language and Mathematics.
Charanchi attributed the development to what he described as government’s commitment towards improvement of the general standard of education in the State.
Moreover, according to him, ‘this outstanding performance can also be attributed to the prompt payment of teachers’ salaries, welfare packages, prompt promotion, infrastructural development of the schools as well as provision of instructional materials, among others.’
He said that all the 32,000 primary and secondary schools in the State had been engaged in various training programmes adding that government has so far spent about N1.7 billion for the procurement of laboratories equipment, books, computers and other teaching and learning resources.
Moreover, according to him, 13 of the 18 science and technical and vocational schools in the State have been rehabilitated and upgraded.
‘A total of 30,448 three-seater students’ furniture were procured and distributed to various secondary schools,’ he said.