As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to ravage the country with daily increase in recorded cases, the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU), has asked the Federal Government to shut down schools until 2021 to ensure adequate preparations in order not to expose students to avoidable health challenge.
ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi who spoke following reports that government was considering opening the schools said government must be sensitive to the times, insisting that any parent that decides to prevail on government to open the schools must be made to sign an undertaking.
Prof Ogunyemi also expressed support to government’s decision to stop students from taking part in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination originally scheduled to commence on August 4.
“Look, Kenya has said they have closed all their schools till next year; they too have exams to write. If it means closing the schools until next year to safeguard the lives of Nigerian children and safeguard the health of all Nigerians, so be it.
So, if that will help us to address cases that can lead to increase in mortality, I think Nigerians should go that way and all of us should see reason for it. If they need to cancel admission for the year, it is good for them. Life matters first, people must have life first before they can go to university. Are the universities ready to work now?
“Our position is that they should not experiment with the lives of our children. Nobody can tell; the situation may soon normalise and they can do their exams and there is another opportunity for external candidates around November. So, it’s not as if the door is totally closed.”
The ASUU president added that the union had not seen any evidence to show that schools were secured for students to go back.
He said, “The first thing that should be tackled is whether schools are safe. And if the schools are not safe, why do you want to carry out an experiment with the lives of our children? An attempt to send back the children to school at a time there is a spike in COVID-19 cases in Nigeria is like experimenting with the lives of our children.
“If they put all the things in place, including social and physical distancing, sanitisers, kitting the children as we see in other places, decontamination with water flowing in the schools and all the gadgets, why not? So, if government can meet all these conditions, then they can reopen the schools. But if they cannot meet all these conditions, they should not experiment with even 10 students in any school.”