Delta State Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education has stated that it will not task communities on the reopening of schools in the state warning Chief Inspectors of Education (CIEs), Principals and Heads of Schools to desist from sending wrong signals that does not portray the intention of the state government.
This warning is coming on the heels of insinuations in some quarters that the ministry has directed communities to clean up public schools within their jurisdiction or pay a certain amount of money and failure to do so, such schools will not be allowed by the state government to reopen.
In a statement signed by the Commissioner in charge of the ministry, Chief Patrick Ukah on Wednesday, stated that any CIE, Principal or School Head foisting the cleaning of schools on communities do not have the backing of the ministry and those found to be involved and those propagating the misleading information will be severely sanctioned in accordance with extant rules of the state civil service and laws on the spread of fake news.
Chief Ukah disclosed that having known that the government alone cannot do everything in the school system, the ministry’s Public Private Partnership unit is currently engaging relevant agencies, partners, organisations, philanthropic and well-meaning individuals to see how government’s efforts can be complemented.
According to the statement, the Federal Government recently released guidelines for the reopening of schools after Covid-19 pandemic closures and the ministry has commenced the harmonisation of the document with that of the state schools reopening strategy.
The Basic and Secondary Education Commissioner therefore appealed to parents and the general public to be patient as the ministry is in consultations with both internal and external stakeholders including relevant ministries, all Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Public Secondary Schools, Association of Primary School Heads of Nigeria, Private School Owners Association, Nigeria Union of Teachers, Management of State Universal Basic Education Board and Post Primary Education Board with a view to building alignment on the strategies for school reopening.
Chief Ukah emphasised that the ministry will also increase communication and advocacy with the Ministry of Information, Civil Society Groups and Delta State Orientation Bureau as well as building synergy with School Based Management Committees (SBMC), Advocacy and Mentoring Committees, Parents’ Teachers’ Associations (PTAs), Transport Unions, Traditional Rulers and Faith Based Organisations, including Christian and Muslim leaders, to help educate our students on social distancing.
The statement noted that it is pertinent to state that government is alive to its responsibility and is already taking steps to ensuring that all schools are well prepared, hygienic and adequately provided with water and health facilities as demanded by the covid-19 preventive protocols as we look forward to schools reopening soon.
Chief Ukah added that as a responsible government, the health, safety, and security of learners, teachers and families are priorities, stressing that the state government will guarantee the public, especially parents, of the safety of schools before, during and after covid -19 pandemic.