The government of Kaduna State, North-west Nigeria, on Thursday , released a new resumption schedule for its schools after months of disruption in the school calendar due to violent attacks by bandits in the state.
The state’s commissioner for education, Shehu Makarfi, disclosed this while taking part in a virtual workshop organised by the Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria.
The workshop, which is organised as part of the activities to mark the second anniversary of the International Day to Protect Education from Attack, was themed; “Consequences of Violent Attacks on Education in Nigeria.”
According to Mr Makarfi, students of the state are expected to resume on Sunday, September 12, 2021.
However, the commissioner said rather than resume for the third term that has been aborted in the state, the schools will resume the first term for the 2021/2022 academic calendar.
He added that the state has worked out strategies towards ensuring the completion of the third term through online platforms.
He said the resumption will be in phases, and that the whole students will resume within three weeks.
He said: “As I speak with you now, we have just released our timetable for resumption for learning in our schools. The first term will resume on September 12, and they will be in school until December 16. They have 14 weeks within which they will be dealing with a lot of lessons they have missed. They will have a holiday from the 16th December 2021 to 6th January 2022.
“Second term will resume from Sunday January 9, 2022 to April 8, 2022 and they will have a holiday from 9th April till May 1, when the third term will resume.”
Mr Makarfi added that experiences from other states have taught them how to prevent further attacks in the schools, noting that while the schools were closed down officially but learning had continued unofficially.
He added: “Some of the schools are operating because we felt that if we continue to announce what we have done, the kidnappers and bandits are also listening, and following. So students are going about their learning in areas that we consider safe without uniform and we give the principals and teachers the privilege to change the time of reporting and close when appropriate.
“We are opening in phases; the SS1 and SS2 students from five local government areas which are affected by the crisis, will be moved to some boarding schools which we have arranged. The JSS students will also be moved to these boarding schools. We will make sure that they are all absorbed because they are few.”
UNICEF, WSCIJ speak
Meanwhile, in their separate contributions to the theme of the workshop, the officer-in-charge of the Maiduguri chief of field office for the United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF), Samuel Sessay, and the executive director of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Motunrayo Alaka, highlighted the dangerous consequences of violent attacks on schools.
Mr Sessay listed the rising number of out-of-school children, poorer health for citizens, rising cases of early marriages and unwanted pregnancies, and increase in infant and maternal mortality, among others, as part of the consequences of the attacks on schools.
“Between 2009 and 2020, a total of 1,400 schools were damaged, more than 1 million children forced out of school, 2,295 teachers killed with annual dropout rate for children in the North-east highest in Nigeria,” he said.
He said UNICEF encourages Nigeria to engage in dialogue with relevant stakeholders in the education sector for repositioning.
On her part, Mrs Alaka charged journalists to focus more on quality reporting of the nation’s education sector.
She said the organisation’s five-year Regulatory Monitoring Project (REMOP) on education, has shown that poor attention is given by the media to the basic education subsector.
She said journalists need thorough impact-driven reports in the sector to achieve impacts.
In his brief remark during the workshop, the chairman of the Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria (EWAN), organisers of the event, Mojeed Alabi, said the association would work with relevant stakeholders in the sector to reclaim its lost glory.
Mr Alabi said the International Day to Protect Education from Attack is significant for the country, considering the new development of violent attacks on schools and educators.
“EWAN is committed to reclaiming the lost glory in the education sector in Nigeria through accurate, balanced and investigative reporting aimed at exposing the ills and advocating necessary change for national development,” he said.
Meanwhile, the end of the workshop coincided with the association’s inaugural congress after its recent election conducted for some vacant positions.
At the end of the poll, Tayo Olorunyomi of Eko FM and Radio Lagos was elected unopposed as the Treasurer while Elizabeth Osayande of Vanguard Newspapers emerged the new assistant secretary. Oyeniran Apata of the Daily Independent Newspapers was elected the internal auditor for the association, while Funmilayo Ogundare of ThisDay Newspaper was nominated as the welfare secretary.
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