A former Commissioner of Education in Kwara State, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has spoken on the continued lockdown of schools in Kwara State, noting that the radio silence of the government is not good for the system.
Abdullahi, who was at a time Minister of Youth and Sports Development charged the state government to reopen schools without further delay in order to avert what he called the “the COVID generation”.
“Our global reality today is COVID-19 and it is possible that we will live with it for a very long time. But the education of our children cannot wait forever. Every single day they are not in school, their mental development is threatened. They have been out for several months now. We cannot afford to keep them away any longer if we do not want to create a COVID generation who have grown up with a massive gap in their mental capacity.”
He observed that since COVID-19 is not likely to go away soon, the challenge for government is to develop creative strategies that will enable the people to cope with this reality.
“I go around Ilorin and it appears to me that the people have resumed their normal lives. The markets are all open, the religious centres and even some ceremonies are being held. What then is the justification to continue to keep the children at home?
“I want to believe that by now the government has developed the necessary safety protocols for schools. I also want to assume that teachers and school managers have been trained on these measures ahead of school resumption. If these are not happening, then they should have happened yesterday. This is an adaptive challenge. We must have a timeline that is known to everyone, and which all stakeholders must be working towards. This radio silence is not good for the system.”
The veteran journalist also advised that the government introduce “remedial programmes” that will help the children especially those in the rural areas of the state make up for lost time.
“This is necessary for all children, but even more so for majority of children of poor parents and those in the rural areas who have not had any access to any form of tuition since the schools were shut down.”
He said all stakeholders, including owners of private schools must meet immediately to agree on how to regularise the school calendar and make up for lost teaching time.