Pauline Onyibe It is said that education is the base and foundation of every society.
Reason Coronavirus pandemic that affected the whole world and crippled the whole system can no longer be condoned as the federal government of Nigeria after waiting for so many months endlessly, decided to reopen schools for the exit classes. In this regard, the federal government announced the resumption of school for SS3 and JSS 3 students from August 4th, 2020 to enable them write their exams. Since the federal government has announced resumption date and other states have set out to resume, Bayelsa state also made proper arrangements to follow suit.
Coincidentally, there have been series of trainings organised by the ministry of education for the teachers on how to handle the situation before the major training called train the trainer’s programme which was declared open by the governor of the state. At the training recently, before resumption of schools in the state, Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, said his administration would prioritise investment in the education sector as it remains the bedrock for development of any society. He said his government would do more to positively shape the future of students in the state.
The governor promised to ensure quality education in order to build a robust human resource for the overall good of Bayelsa. “As a government, we will continue to make more investment in the educational sector because it is the responsibility of this government to positively shape the future of our children.
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has found the need to reopen certain key institutions in collaboration with state governments. But we must continue to keep to the protocols and guidelines to avoid any further spread of the pandemic.
“As the schools reopen, let us bear in mind that there is no known or recommended cure for COVID-19 although recent events have shown that the disease is not a death sentence. Many infected persons have been successfully treated. “But we must ensure that at all times we keep to the protocols and the entire checklist that have been provided to protect the future of our children.
That is the avowed commitment of our government. “It is in this light that we have formed a state monitoring committee, which would go round all the schools in the state, including the local government areas.
We have provided scanners, 10,000 face masks and other hygiene-related items like soap and water for private and government secondary schools.”
Diri challenged school teachers and parents to take responsibility for the wellbeing of their students and children as they resume to write their exams. The committee on safe re-opening of schools is chaired by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Dr. Peter Akpe. Part of the committee are the Chairman, National Association of Private Schools Proprietors, Dr. Mrs. Christiana McDonald, and the Technical Adviser on Security, Dr. Boma Spero-Jack.
The committee, which would be replicated in the eight councils across the state according to the Governor is responsible for training and ensuring the safety of students in all schools. In his acceptance speech, chairman of the Safe School Re-Opening Committee, Dr. Peter Akpe, on behalf of members, promised to deliver on their mandate to ensure that the reopened schools were safe for all students.
In his opening remarks, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Inodu Apoku, said the state government has courageously spent resources to win the battle against the global pandemic, which has resulted in the discharge of 90% of patients that tested positive for COVID-19.
He disclosed that out of 339 confirmed cases so far, there are currently only 34 active cases with 284 discharged and 21 deaths recorded. Inaugurating a special committee monitoring committee on Tuesday in Yenagoa to ensure the safe reopening of schools across the state, the Governor said that the trainers will go out with their guidelines and checklist to ensure that every teacher, student, parents must take responsibility so as avoid the spread of the virus. He continued” It is not a purely government affair.
It is the responsibility of teachers, parents and government. “We must take strong measures to check teachers- students’ transmission and vice versa,” Gov Diri stressed. The Governor noted that the teachers have become “front liners,” in the fight against Covid-19, just as the health workers have been since the advent of Covid-19 in the country and urged them to discharge the responsibility wholeheartedly.
Diri said that to further ensure the safety of the returning students and teachers, the state government has provided 10,000 face masks, scanners and other hygiene related materials like soap, water for all the secondary schools in the state, including private schools.
He emphasized the readiness of his administration to make further investments in the education sector as it was the responsibility of government to positively shape the future of “our children”
“This Prosperity Administration is committed to providing quality education to build a very sound and robust human resource for the overall good of Bayelsa State. He maintained. The mandate of the committee he said was to train key stakeholders in the school system and other relevant sectors on the COID 19 protocols who would then ensure that the training runs down to the rural areas in the eight local government areas of the state.
The committee will be chaired by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Gov- ernment House, Dr. Peter Akpe with permanent secretaries, Ministry of Health, Education and Information, among others, including representatives of private schools in the state as members.
Speaking earlier, Walton Liverpool, the permanent secretary ministry of Education had disclosed that “We have to imbibe by some guidelines before we can open our schools.
Things like provision of running water for hand washing, face masks for the students and pupils, also social distancing of one meter. “We felt that until we get those things done we can’t announce the resumption of schools now. We are already making arrangements to get those things.
True to Liverpool’s promise, the state through the monitoring team went ahead to provide and distribute COVID-19 Preventive materials both to public and private schools in the state. The Monitoring team also to ensure compliance of schools to all COVID -19 protocols went round some schools to train the teachers and pupils on measures to check spread of the virus.
Comrade Walton Liverpool, stated that the training exercise was a physical demonstration of the preventive measures of COVID-19, to teachers and students. Comrade Liverpool who noted that the training exercise was ongoing and all schools in the state would be visited stressed that the facemask is not a jawmask as worn by many.
He added that many schools have already been visited by the committee, to display the proper use of the facemask, the infrared thermometer and hand washing methods.
He reiterated that Government has distributed facemasks, infrared thermometers, veronica buckets, liquid soaps and other hygiene-related items to government and private schools across the State and urged all to take responsibility for their hygiene, to curb the spread of the virus.
Already, students according to the team were complying with the COVID-19 protocols as classes resume in most schools in the right Local Government Areas.
Some schools visited by the monitoring team included NNGS Nembe Ogbolomabiri GGSS Nembe Bassambiri, CBSS Nembe Bassambiri, CSS Oluasiri, CSS Tebidaba, CSS Olugboboro, Potters Touch, Yenagoa.