SCHOOL CHILDREN
SCHOOL CHILDREN

School Children

The dust raised by the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and the decision of the Federal Government to re-open all public and private schools in Nigeria on September 22nd took a fresh dimension Tuesday, as leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) has tasked the Federal Government to discard the decision unless it can guarantee that all precautionary measures against the disease have been put in place.

The union, stated this in Abuja at an emergency National Executive Council(NEC) meeting and directed its members to stay out of classrooms on the stipulated September 22 date which has been set for resumption.

NUT also carpeted the Federal Government,particularly members of the House of Representatives for their hasty decision to re-open the schools even when it was obvious that all the required preventive and protective gadgets such as hand gloves,sanitizers,infra-red thermometres,running water and soaps have not been provided as directed by government.

NUT?s President, Micheal Olukoya who gave the directive said,?In states where teachers have been trained to handle any outbreak and all the required preventive and protective gadgets such as hand gloves,sanitizers,infra-red thermometres,running water and soaps have not been provided,teachers shall continue to remain at home until their state governments respond positively.

?Any state branch of the NUT which gives the national council conflicting report,we shall not fail to mete out sanctions?.

It would be recalled that the federal government changed the resumption date from September 8, 2014 to October 13, 2014, over the outbreak of Ebola virus in the country. The date was reviewed from October 13, to September 22, 2014, based on the advice given by? Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who said based on the progress made so far that over 98% suceess has been recorded across the nation in containing EVD .

According to Olukoya, ?But where the federal government insists on the 22nd September, 2014,? date in spite of the wise counsel, the union will rather direct teachers to resume schools whenever they are sufficiently trained and their schools have been provided with the necessary preventive and protective gadgets. For the avoidance of doubt, the teachers have this day, resolved to resume classes in obedience to the federal government directive, in states where teachers have been trained to handle any outbreak and all the required preventive and protective gadgets such as hand gloves, sanitizers, infra-red thermometers, running water and soaps have been provided as directed by federal government of Nigeria.

?In states where the training has not been done and necessary safeguarding gadgets not provided, teachers shall continue to remain at home until their state governments respond positively or the union directs them to the contrary?.

He noted that the dream of the union is to see all things put in place to protect the teachers and school children from being infected in the school.

He said, ?The NUT is strongly of the opinion that it is better to delay the resumption of school till 13(h October, 2014,? even when the scourge would have been off months ago than rush and open schools only to be faced with attacks of EVD in the schools.

?It makes more sense to be doubly sure than to operate on shaky grounds of uncertainty and probability as it will be catastrophy of unimaginable dimension if by any act of omission we rush and open schools and end up with even up with even one primary or secondary school being infected by the virus?.

The union also threatened to shut down the education sector if the federal government scrap Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, TRCN because it is the only regulatory body for the practice of teaching in Nigeria from primary school to the terrtiary institution.

?This attempt at scrapping TRCN shows clearly that the federal government does not care about the standard of teachers of Nigeria and the much sought-for professionalism of the teaching industry.

?The teachers of Nigeria are watching this development with keen interest with a view to returning to the trenches of 1992 and 1993 as they will not just fold their hands and watch the bastardisation of their profession.

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