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Following the widespread of coronavirus across the , Northwest Zone Governors Forum in Kaduna State has resolved to close down in their states for 30 days.

In a communiqué read by the Chairman of the Forum and Katsina State , Alhaji Aminu Bello Masari, after a closed-door meeting with security chiefs at Sir Kashim Ibrahim , to review security strategies and fight against banditry, he said the decision to close down the schools became imperative, to prevent the spread of COVID 19 disease across the northwest.

This development came following the of suspected case of coronavirus in Katsina State.

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Governor Masari explained that the closure would take effect from Monday, March 23m 2020.

He said the governors would meet with boards to discuss the ’s closure.

They also advised the general public to avoid unnecessary gatherings, urging them to maintain good respiratory hygiene.

Present at the meeting were the governors of Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kaduna, and Niger States, while Kano deputy governor Nasiru Gawuna represented governor Umar Ganduje.

Also among the states to implement the closure was Kwara State, whose governor was absent at the meeting.

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The governors received briefings from heads of security agencies, at the meeting which had in attendance Major-General A. Agundu (Commander, Operation Safe Haven), Major-Gen. F.I. Yahaya, GOC 1 Division, AVM, M.I. Mukhtar (AOC Air Training Command), Rear Admiral T. Pani (Commandant, Nigerian Navy School of Armaments) and other senior military officers.

Commissioners of Police and State Directors of the DSS from the concerned states also attended the meeting.

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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Education

Parents Have Started Asking Us For A Refund Of Their Children’s WAEC Exam Fees ― Private Schools

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The private owners in the country have said some parents of their students, who registered for this year’s -based West African Senior Secondary (WASSCE) being conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) as well as that of the National Examinations Council (NECO) have started to approach them for a refund of their children registration fees for both exams.

They said the parents were doing this based on the uncertainty that is now surrounding the conduct of the two exams as the federal government has pulled out all the 104 unity school students nationwide from participating in WASSCE, which is already scheduled to commence on August 3rd.

The school owners under the aegis of National Association of Proprietors of Private (NAPPS), gave this hint, at a virtual press conference in Lagos, on Monday.

Addressing newsmen on behalf of the group, the national president, Chief Yomi Otubela, said even though the said money had since been remitted to WAEC and NECO,  parents had reasoned that they would use the money to register their children for a similar exam in the neighbouring countries.

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He said that is part of why the government would have to reverse its stance concerning the exams by reopening schools gradually and also allowing students to sit for the exams.

While highlighting other reasons which he considered more important, NAPPS boss said the conduct of the exam would, among others prevent students from going through emotional trauma due to the suspension of the exam having fully prepared for it and also known that their peers in other member countries would participate.

He added that “The exam would also avoid them a situation where they will be forced to go to neighbouring countries such as Ghana, among others to register for the same exam and that would not be good for image, or may make them lose interest in education and because of that embrace social vices without minding repercussion on themselves and the society.”

He said apart from the fact that the private schools are fully prepared and ready for the gradual reopening of schools and sitting for WASSCE and other exams without compromising safety guidelines and protocols set by the government against the spread of Covid-19, its appeal to government is extended to cover the public schools nationwide.

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He said since the closure of schools, private schools had been preparing towards resumption by providing for the required safety equipment such as running water and soap for hand-washing, Infra-red thermometers, sick-bay, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and so forth.

He said in addition to that, students in terminal classes are fewer and would, therefore, be easily monitored and controlled as regards the social\physical distancing and the adherence to other safety guidelines.

Otubela, who lamented that coronavirus pandemic had really taken a huge toll on them and their workers since no income is coming in since the closure of schools, he lauded the federal government for the release of N2.3 trillion stimulus package to support teachers’ salary and the Central Bank N5O billion single digits intervention loan to cushion the effect of the pandemic on schools.

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He said they were waiting for the release of the fund and the execution of the loan facility.

Otubela insisted that the gradual reopening of schools and the conduct of the external exams even in this face of a covid-19 pandemic would do the country no harm but good.

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Education

Don’t enrol for WAEC without FG’s participation, NUT, parents tell states

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State governments in the country have been told not to go ahead and enrol their in this year’s West African Senior Secondary . WASSCE, if the Federal Government-owned schools are not going to take part in same.

If they go ahead, according to the Union of Teachers, NUT, and the National Parent Teacher Association of , NAPTAN, it will not only distort the education sector but will also create chaos that may be very difficult to remediate.

The National Treasurer of the NUT, Mr Segun Raheem and the National President of NAPTAN, Haruna Danjuma, said this in separate chats with Vanguard.

Raheem said there was a stakeholders’ meeting with the Federal Ministry of Education and other government agencies concerned with the COVID-19 pandemic in which NUT was present, and where it was agreed that anything that would lead to chaos should be avoided.

“We all know that education is on the Concurrent List in the Constitution and that is why when the Federal Government said its schools would not open now, and advised the state governments to key into that. NUT has asked every state chapter to look into the peculiarities of their states and be guided accordingly.

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” Some states have gone far in preparing their terminal students for their final examinations. I am from Lagos State and I can say boldly that the Commissioner for Education has done a lot in this respect. However, schools cannot be reopened unless it is safe to do so.

‘Before the pandemic got to this level, the NCDC said each state should prepare at least 300-bed isolation centre, how many states were able to do that?

“We have to be careful not to use our children as laboratory rats. If the affected students sit for WASSCE now, will they be admitted to the university immediately? No. Some countries reopened schools.and shut them down almost immediately. It is not appropriate that some states will sit for WASSCE and others will not,” he said.

Raheem also noted that it would not be proper to compare Nigeria with other member states of the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, saying the countries were not up to four states in Nigeria in terms of population.

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While empathising with private school owners and teachers, the NUT national treasurer opined that it would be in the best interest of all if schools are reopened in a safe environment.

NAPTAN National President, Danjuma, in his opinion, said even if it is the National Examinations Council, NECO, solely owned by Nigerian, nobody should contemplate some states sitting for WASSCE while others would not.

“WAEC is an international body and the examination it conducts is recognised globally. It won’t be appropriate for it to handle examination for a few states and others won’t take part. I advise state governments to liaise with the FG and do the needful. I also hope the FG would have a rethink about the issue too,” he stated.

Recall that the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, after the Federal Executive Council meeting last Wednesday said the FG was not in support of WASSCE holding from early next month as announced by WAEC.

Also, Oyo State has reopened schools for terminal students and said it is ready to allow its students to write WASSCE if WAEC is to conduct it as planned.

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Ekiti State is also planning to reopen its schools for final year students next week.

Meanwhile, the 19 Northern States have declared their support for the FG over its decision to suspend this year’s WASSCE.

A communique signed by the Kaduna State Commissioner for Education, Dr Shehu Markafi, at the end of a virtual meeting of the commissioners contained the position of the states.

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