Following what they described as Federal Government’s poor handling of schools reopening, students of tertiary institutions have given the government two weeks within which to fix a date for resumption.
They threatened to protest against continued closure of schools if government failed to accede to their demands within 14 days.
The groups, comprising the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS), National Association of University Students (NAUS) and National Association of Colleges of Education Students (NANCES), at a virtual meeting, decried Federal Government’s approach towards resumption of learning institutions in the country.
They also faulted government’s decision to pull out of the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASCCE).
Urging the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to reconsider participation of Nigerian students in the terminal examination, they said WAEC could be taken, while observing social distancing and other safety protocols.
“It is hardly feasible that coronavirus may be eradicated in a fortnight and after months of observing several safety measures, there are little or no gains in the results so far recorded.
‘’Huge funds have been used to contain the spread of the virus, but we still have poorly equipped medical centres across the country,” they added.
They also charged the government to stop salaries of university teachers and other officials for advocating the continued closure of schools without proffering solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Professor Peace Chinedum Babalola, has advised the Federal Government to adopt ‘staggered’ reopening of schools.
Babalola spoke at the fifth matriculation ceremony of the institution, which was held online.
The Federal Government had on Monday released guidelines, actions, measures and requirements for safe reopening of schools in the country.
But in her reaction, she said the Federal Government could in the meantime reopen schools for final year students at all levels to enable them to finish their academic programmes on time.
“To achieve social distancing, one of the guidelines for reopening of schools is the need for government to ‘stagger’ resumption for the students,” she said.
She argued that while nobody knew when the COVID-19 pandemic would end, there was the need for gradual resumption of socio-economic activities and reopening of schools.