‘Reopening of schools prematurely is a disaster in waiting’

By Rukayat Akanbi

Bauchi State Commissioner of Education, Dr. Aliyu Tilde has said that reopening of schools without availability of preventive measures is a “disaster in waiting”.

The Commissioner while reacting to the decision of the Presidential Task Force to reopen schools for students in graduating classes of primary 6, JSS3 and SSS 3 and also the instruction of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to start the 2020 exam on August 4, Tilde said education administrators were caught between the anvil and the hammer.

He said: “Presently, there is confusion on what education administrators in the country would do. We are caught, it appears, between the rock and the hard place. Do we revolt against WAEC or comply with its orders? Revolting means forfeiting the exams, jeopardising the future of millions of school children, while compliance means, literally, taking our teachers especially to the slaughter house.”

Tilde wondered why the education authorities in the country are not worry about the level of COVID-19 preventive measures in Nigerian schools before announcing the reopening. He added that “no state has the resources to meet the billions of Naira requirements for re-opening schools as suggested by the Presidential Taskforce (PTF) on Covid-19 a month ago.

“If Covid-19 is true as the PTF wants Nigerians to believe, then it must realise that its position to reopen schools prematurely is a disaster waiting to happen. Beyond the conventional schools, others like Islamiyyas (Islamic schools) will also open and hell will be let lose. A repetition of violations that happened when we re-opened the markets and allowed congregations will happen with schools, causing even greater spikes. Then, we can as well disband all the sham about fighting the virus,” he said.

He urged the National Union Teachers (NUT) to make its voice public on the matter. “Over 30 per cent of my teachers, for example, are 50 years and above. Almost all my principals are about 50 and the vice principals a bit younger but not outside the COVID-19 danger zone. The union will share in the blame should any teacher die of school infection,” Tilde said.

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