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School Reopening: ASUP Worried About Resumption Without Preparations

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Palpable tension takes over the Nigeria’s tertiary institutions as Nigeria’s polytechnic lecturers under the aegis of the Academic Staff of Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) warns the federal government against reopening for now.

The position of ASUP is coming weeks after their University counterpart operating under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), declared that there are no provisions to meet COVID-19 precautionary guidelines in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.

The position of ASUP was revealed by her national president, Anderson Ezeibe, in a recent interview with an online media following the announcement by nation’s Minister of State for Education,Bar Emeka Nwajiuba stating that the federal Government is optimistic on the reopening tertiary institutions soon .

Mr Ezeibe, described the federal government’s plan on resumption as a threat to students, lecturers and other stakeholders.

He said:“The truth of the matter is that we need not to be emotional about the resumption. Institutions were closed down for COVID-19 pandemic . The spread is well known and the closure of institutions was precautionary to mitigate it. The question now is what steps have the government taken in tertiary institutions between March and now,”.

“If schools resume now then we don’t have any need to have shut in the first place. The agitation of students and parents are only emotional and the position of private institutions owners is mainly for personal gain.”

The ASUP President maintained that the polytechnic lecturers are not ready to expose themselves to risks.

“The truth is polytechnics are not ready. There are lots of practical preparations to be done. Many institutions have up to 10,000 students. We are expecting that before resumption, there should be stakeholders’ forum where reality steps should be discussed.

Before now, polytechnic lecturers and cleaners are outsourced for nearly 10 years. What it means is that institutions rely on contractors to clean. We don’t have good healthcare facilities and many more.

“Are there isolation spaces in tertiary institutions? What about hostels capacities? How will all these be managed? The government simply wants to turn students and lecturers into Guinea pigs. Let there be stakeholders’ meetings for conclusion on resumption. This is the best solution,” he said.

You may recall that the ASUU President,Biodun Ogunyemi had earlier stated that schools should be opened only when considered safe for students and Lecturers.

“They have brought out guidelines and conditions for school resumption, they must now supervise and ensure that those conditions are met.

Beyond formulating a policy, they must see to its implementation. So, we are saying it is not just a matter of putting things on papers but implementation from primary schools to tertiary institutions,” he said then.

Meanwhile, the nation’s 78 private universities had declared their readiness to resume activities.

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