Kaduna State Commissioner for Education, Dr. Shehu Muhammad Makarfi, on Monday, visited schools in Zaria to monitor the level of their preparedness against the gradual opening of all schools within the state.
The Commissioner expressed satisfaction on the schools’ effort in ensuring that all covid-19 guidelines for school reopening is being adhered to by the school principals.
“I am very impressed by the turnout of students in all the schools. And I have seen teachers teaching and facilitating learning. I have also seen the readiness of the school managements to receive students in terms of ensuring that all the students have the facemask on them. And also, the schools are equipped with hand washing facilities.
“I have seen also the efforts of the schools to keep social distance amongst students in the classes,” he said.
The Commissioner, who had an interactive session with the staff and students of the visited schools, assured all challenges being faced by each school will be noted and necessary actions will be taken to tackle the problems.
“Also, I have seen their challenges. These include inadequate furniture, extreme dilapidation in some schools,” says the Commissioner.
While commenting on the purpose of the monitoring, he listed a number of reasons and assured the school management that the exercise aims at encouraging and assisting them to be better prepared to receive students come November 9.
He said: “Our going out to monitor schools is to encourage principals to do all they can to keep the school safe, to strengthen the formation of covid-19 monitoring committee in every school, and to also see the level of their preparedness. Some have full complement of what they are supposed to have. Some don’t have. Not all have the washing hand facilities in their schools. Also, we are here to listen to their complains if there is any, so that we can attend to it, and have interaction with principals, listen to them, and see things for ourselves.”
Speaking about one of the schools visited, Government Secondary School Dogon Bauchi (Senior), he expressed joy over the development seen in the school, and promised that government will do something about the challenges mentioned in the school.
“I am very happy with the condition of Government Secondary School Dogon Bauchi (Senior). The whole school has been renovated, including a new exam hall. I am happy with what I have seen, and I have noted some of these shortcomings for us to take necessary actions on that,” said the commissioner.
Highlighting some other challenges he saw, the commissioner said:
“Where we came from, the structures we saw were very disturbing. I saw a structure that was commissioned by the late Emir of Zazzau, Malam Jafaru in 1939. The second part of the building was also commissioned by another railway Director in the year 1937. The whole of that block will have to be removed completely and replaced with a safer and modern structure to accommodate the students.
“I have seen glaringly, overcrowding in all the schools. From the number I have seen, no school will be able to accommodate their students at one or two shifts. We must do something about it.”
He went further to make clarifications on reasons some principals can decide not to resume fully on November 9.
“If he finds out that he does not have enough classes. Even before the covid-19 classes were not enough in some schools.
“So if he now separate to about 20-25 in one class and the classes are all filled up, and he does not have enough classes.
“And if he decides to go on shifting, yet the problem is not solved, he can decide not to invite some classes.
“So it is not an offense if they do not invite some particular year group to resume because they don’t have a class to keep them,” says the commissioner.
He further emphasized on the students’ use of facemask regular hand washing and temperature check using the infrared thermometer.
He then warned that no child should be sent back home for not bringing hand sanitizer and called on parents to support government’s initiative of providing facemask, by providing alternatives for their children.
“I want to use this opportunity to also amplify the fact that we have directed that children must use facemask and schools must use infrared thermometer to check temperature. We have also de-emphasized the use of hand sanitizers by students, is no longer a requirement. What we are encouraging is consistent and sustainable hand washing in schools and at home. It should be part of the culture of teachers and students.
“Under no circumstances should a child be returned home for not bringing hand sanitizer. But a child can be returned home for not bringing a facemask. I am sure I am not wrong if I say that we have provided facemask to all junior and senior secondary schools, and I hope that the children will be using it. But again, we call on parents to provide an alternative for the children, so that in case one is dirty, they can use the other.
“Schools from today are opening gradually for all the classes, as we have given the go-ahead. The session will end on 23rd December, 2020, and a new session will commence on the first day of the second week of January, 2021,” the commissioner said.