The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu has cancelled the reopening of schools, stating that it is 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.
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.
He said he would prefer that Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers.
Adamu appealed to States that have announced the resumption of school in their states to reconsider their position so as not to jeopardise 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.
“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.
“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.