The Kwara State Government has reopened the 10 schools in Ilorin shut last month over the use of hijab by Muslim female students.
This was disclosed in a statement by the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Kemi Adeosun, on Tuesday night.
Mrs Adeosun said the schools would reopen on Wednesday, March 17.
“The government is convinced that its policy to allow willing Muslim schoolgirls to wear their hijaab (face covering) in public schools will lead to sustainable peace and communal harmony anchored on mutual respect and understanding.
“This path to mutual respect, understanding, and peace with regards to hijaab had long been adopted in all of the northern Nigeria and many states in the Southwest such as Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and Oyo States.
“As the students resume normal classes, the government took special notice of the plight of those of them preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and hereby directs affected schools to hold at least two-hour extra lesson for all the intending candidates after school hours daily.”
She also announced that the government will provide ‘light lunch’ for the students until the beginning of their exams while teachers assigned for the extra coaching will get stipends for their efforts.
“This is to bring the students up to speed ahead of the impending external examination. The closure of the schools was necessary to forestall security breaches which may affect lives and properties.”
The state government commended the Christian and Muslim leaders for their understandings and their efforts to build peace within their respective communities in the past weeks.
“It urges everyone to join hands with the government to raise a generation of schoolchildren who will respect one another’s differences and together build a sustainable future for our state.”
The state government shut 10 grant-aided schools on February 19 as the controversy surrounding the use of the head covering was yet abated.
It also set up a committee to decide the way forward and it was agreed after consultations that hijab-wearing students be allowed in the schools.
The affected schools are Cherubim and Seraphim (C&S) College, Sabo-Oke, St, Anthony’s Secondary School, Offa Road, ECWA School, Oja-Iya, Surulere Baptist Secondary School and Baptist Smith Secondary School, Agba Dam.
Others are CAC Secondary School, Asa Dam Road, St. Barnabas Secondary School, Sabo-Oke, John School, Maraba, St. Williams Secondary School, Taiwo-Isale and St. James Secondary School, Maraba.
The schools were earlier scheduled to resume last Monday but the government extended the closure, citing safety reasons owing to the opposition of the Christian leaders.
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