Teachers flay resumption without pupils in Anambra

Reactions have continued to trail Anambra State government directives on school resumption without pupils.

The Governor, Chief Willie Obiano had directed civil and public servants in the state, including primary and secondary school teachers resume work on Monday after a six-week holiday occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor, through the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, however said pupils should remain at home, but follow Anambra Teaching on Air through ABS radio, ABS TV and ABS online platforms.

In view of the directive, Anambra State Education policymakers met to discuss the way forward in the post-COVID-19 academic session, including the reasons for the reopening of schools without students.

Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha said teachers were asked to resume preparing the schools in line with the necessary COVID-19 protocol before the return of pupils.

She directed the teachers to ensure the schools were disinfected and to observe social distancing in arranging lockers and chairs.

According to Omenugha, the protocol requires minimizing person to person contacts.

The meeting also resolved to adopt blended learning, using face- to-face and online teaching methods, as well as the free online teaching applications sent in by the Federal Ministry of Education.

Teachers were also mandated to wear face mask, or risk not being allowed entry into the school to ensure COVID-19 protocol compliance in schools.

Stakeholders in the education system have however expressed reservation over the decision, describing it as counterproductive.

They called on government to reconsider the decision.

A primary school teacher, who preferred anonymity, said the directive would only amount to unnecessary waste of money on transportation.

“I wonder what I will be going to the school to do as a primary school teacher while the pupils remain at home.

“Maybe the government wants us to waste our salaries on unnecessary transportation,” she said.

A lecturer, Dr. Alex Ogujo, said though government may have reasons for reopening schools, but argued that it was illogical to ask teachers and other support staff in the school system to resume work while pupils remained at home.

“They may have their own reasons. But for me, I don’t think the logic is sound. Asking teachers and other support staff to return to work while students will be absent from class is like telling the traders and market people to open market and at the same time restricting buyers from going to their shops,” he said.

Another lecturer, Dr. Festus Onuegbu added: “Teachers without the students don’t make up a school. My opinion is that everybody should stay back, until a full directive is given for total school resumption.”

On her part, Idara Hanson, also a university teacher advised that the teachers asked to resume be subjected to COVID-19 test to ensure none is infected.

She said: “I don’t think it is purpose driven asking teachers to resume work while students are at home. Except they will insist they be subjected to COVID-19 test. Otherwise, it will be unsafe to ask them to resume.”

A parent, Mrs liian Adani, said government was not considerate by asking pupils to follow Anambra Teaching On Air through ABS radio, ABS TV and ABS online platforms as not all students have access to virtual learning.

A secondary school student, who simply identified himself as Kosiso, said he saw no reason for teachers to resume when students are at home.

“I feel sad that I’ve been out of school for so long, though for reason beyond everyone. But I don’t see any good reason why the government will ask teachers to return to work while we students are asked to remain at home,” she noted.

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