The College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has said that its members are not ready to return to school anytime soon except the Federal Government upgrades institutions for conducive learning.
The president of COEASU, Nuhu Ogirima, made this known to PREMIUM TIMES in an interview on Wednesday.
The union’s position comes a day after the Academic Staff of Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) corroborated the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) stance that there are no provisions to meet COVID-19 precautionary guidelines in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
Mr Ogirima told our correspondent that the Federal Government is yet to put the necessary facilities in place for resumption to take place.
“There are lots of things to be put in place. Many colleges of education do not even have enough chairs for social distancing. We’ve been in a crisis because of the neglect of the education sector by the government.”
“We had issues in 2018 calling for proper upgrade of infrastructure in our schools, this is 2020 and nothing has been done. Most colleges of education lack enough seats. When examinations are drawing nearer, students move chairs from one place to another.”
He wondered how social distancing would be achieved in schools where facilities are not in order during Coronavirus pandemic.
“Schools are not ready for resumption. Governments are just window dressing. They are not engaging academic staffs. Private institutions are not critical players, the public institutions are the critical players. You can’t just fumigate schools and believe that’s all, how do you determine those who have contacted the virus from their homes? What kind of hostels exist in our schools? These have been the cry of the Union and the pandemic now vindicate us.”
“Our hostels are as congested as lecture halls. If tertiary institutions are asked to resume, then the figures NCDC gives us daily are not correct. With those figures, schools will be in a mess if asked to resume”, he said. “The country has not even tested up to 2% of its population. What about those asymptomatic? The country may be sitting on time bomb except there is befitting isolation centres and facilities upgrade, else, we are not ready to resume”, he said.
On Tuesday, President of ASUP, Anderson Ezeibe told this newspaper that the federal government’s plan on resumption is a threat to students and lecturers.
Earlier, ASUU president, Biodun Ogunyemi, said that schools should only be opened when considered safe for lives of students, parents and teachers.
Before now, the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said the Federal Ministry of Education was working with stakeholders for the safe reopening of schools. He told noted that he’s hopeful that tertiary institutions would be resuming soon.
Already, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said about 78 private universities insisted that they were ready to resume academic activities in their various institutions.