The Ogun State House of Assembly has called on the state government to put machinery in motion towards ensuring safe reopening of both public and private schools across the state.
The Speaker, Olakunle Oluomo, who made the call in his remarks during a plenary held at the Assembly complex in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, called for the constitution of a task force that will ensure safe reopening of public and private schools in the state.
Oluomo’s call followed submission of the lawmaker representing Egbado North I State Constituency and Chairman, House Committee on Health, Hon. Adeyanju Awoso, who condemned the continued closure of schools as a result of COVID-19.
Awoso, who is also Vice-Chairman, House Committee on Education, said the stewardship of public office holders had failed the nation.
The lawmaker urged Governors of the South-West states to rise up and protect the future of children and youths of the region, saying the current pandemic must not be an excuse for continued stay at home of the school children.
He urged the governors to put adequate measures in place, including provision of hand sanitizers, water, and personal protective equipment (PPEs), towards enabling students to write the forthcoming West African School Certificate (WASSCE).
He faulted the continued closure of schools on the pretext of coronavirus, wondering why primary elections and gubernatorial elections were being allowed despite the scourge of the deadly disease.
Awoso said, “Primary elections are going on in Edo and Ondo states under the same scourge. So, I see our stewardship as not taking education as priority. Our stewardship has failed this great nation.
“But kudos to the South West governors for the good move, proposing to reopen schools for WAEC exams in August. But the question is: how prepared are we? A man who is prepared has his battle half fought.
“The situation of our schools even before the pandemic is not in order. Now, the schools have been closed down over three months. I will like our South-West governors to constitute a task force to go to the drawing board and check the state of our schools. Some schools have no toilet and other facilities and all these must be restored before the reopening of schools.”
In complying with physical distancing measures and other COVID-19 protocols, the lawmaker recommended that all primary schools, community town halls and private event centres should be made available for students to write WAEC exams.
Awoso added: “The governors should consider all the primary schools, community town halls, private halls since we don’t have social events now, as exam centres just to comply with NCDC protocols on COVID-19. They should provide water.
“They should get data of all students both in public and private schools. This will help them to get and provide adequate PPEs for the students. If all these are in place, I believe Federal Government will not oppose the decision by South-West governors to reopen schools.”
Speaking in the same vein, the Speaker charged government at all levels to prioritize education sector.
Oluomo said, “Truly if the Federal Government can allow primary elections and also prepare for governorship elections in Ondo and Edo, then they should find all means to ensure schools are reopened because education is the bedrock of development.
“I want to charge the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health to come together and constitute a task force to look into how to ensure our students write their (WAEC) exams.”