The Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, has said that its members would only resume on the government’s preferred date of September 22, if teachers are properly trained on Ebola prevention measures.
The NUT said its members prefer an extended resumption date, preferably the initial October 13, to be sure the deadly virus poses no risk in schools.
But where the government insists on September 22, teachers will only return to work if they receive sufficient training about Ebola, the union said.
This was stated by the President of the NUT, Alogba Olukoya, on Tuesday while briefing journalists in Abuja.
Mr. Olukoya said if the September 22 resumption date stands, he would direct teachers to resume after they were sufficiently trained on safety measures to prevent the spread of the disease and schools were provided with the necessary preventive and protective gadgets.
Mr. Olukoya further clarified that teachers would resume in accordance with the Federal Government’s directive but only in states where they had been trained to handle any outbreak and all required preventive and protective gadgets such as gloves, sanitizers, infra-red thermometers, running water and soap had been provided as directed by government.
He reiterated that in states where the training had not been done and the necessary safeguarding gadgets provided, the teachers would continue to remain at home until their State Governments responded positively or the union directed them to the contrary.
The NUT President called on the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health to use the period of schools’ closure to mount intensive programmes for all Nigerian teachers to get them prepared and well equipped to tackle the Ebola Virus.
Mr. Olukoya added that the union would offer itself at any point to assist in mobilising the teachers for the task.
Mr. Olukoya also said the union was strongly of the opinion that it was best to leave resumption date on October 13 than to resume on an earlier date and be faced with cases of EVD in schools.
Following the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria, the Federal Government had postponed the resumption date of all primary and secondary schools to October 13. The measure was taken to prevent the spread of the disease among children.
The postponement was, however, rejected especially by private school owners, who considered it an unnecessary waste of time.
Government was asked to reconsider and a new date of September 22 was set by the Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau at an emergency meeting.