The joint labour unions have decried plans by the federal and state governments to reopen schools, saying the decision is hasty and may not bode well for the country at large.
The unions made this appeal at the weekend after a virtual joint meeting of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) affiliate unions in the education sector.
Among those who participated at the meeting include the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Senior Staff
Association of Polytechnics (SSANIP), Senior Staff Union of in Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCOEN), National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT), Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).
In a communiqué signed behalf of the unions by the NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, they noted with concern the social and economic implications of the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) all over the world which has impaired human activities due to the lockdown measures, which also precipitated the closure of schools.
While expressing worries over the increasing incidences of the infection across the country and the dearth of educational infrastructures in Nigeria’s institutions of learning, which is capable of undermining the physical distance protocol of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the meeting observed that some conscious measures need to be mapped and put in place before re-opening schools in the country.
The unions noted that government should bring all stakeholders in the primary and secondary education sub-sector comprising the unions, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Parent Teachers Association (PTA), Committee of Vice-Chancellors/Provosts of Polytechnics and Colleges of Educations, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCPSS) to deliberate on the way forward on the need to re-open schools.
“There is need to revisit the outsourcing policy of security personnel and cleaners, especially in institutions of higher learning to enable the institutions to have full control of the security personnel and cleaners, as private cleaners and security personnel cannot guarantee the health and safety of staff and students.
Apparently, there is a need for expansion of classrooms to ensure observance of the social distancing protocol.”