Connect with us

Education

Rivers State Government lists guidelines for reopening of schools

Published

on

The Ministry of Education says schools in the state must adhere to all health protocols to be able to operate, as schools resume October 5th, 2020.

The State Commissioner for Education, Professor Kaniye Ebeku, speaking during a meeting with Vice Chancellors of state-owned universities and Heads of polytechnics and colleges listed conditions for reopening.

Professor Ebeku briefing the school administrators said, “you know that schools are to reopen with effect from Monday the October 5th. However, there are conditions you must comply with to ensure that not only that we have reopened, but that we can remain opened.”

He said all schools billed to reopen on the 5th of October must ensure the installation and availability of handwashing facilities around the campus and all persons entering the school environment must be subjected to temperature checks.

The education commissioner emphasized that schools must ensure that there is only one entry point into the campus and must also enforce and adhere to physical and social distancing.

He noted that schools must provide a temporary holding centre for people who show symptoms of COVID-19, directing that where practicable schools should adopt blended learning approach in instructing students.

Speaking further Prof. Ebeku advocated for thorough sensitization of students and tutors on the need to adhere to all COVID-19 protocols.

He said, ‘you need to consider holding classes in two or more sessions to reduce crowd. You need to ban social and sporting activities on campus. Overall, avoid crowding and overcrowding on the campus.”

He also charged the schools heads with the duty to ensure that there are no cases of spike or infection in their various institutions of learning, urging them to enact a rule to sanction any staff or student who flouts the COVID-19 protocols.

In another meeting held same day, Monday 28th September, the Rivers State Ministry of Education revealed that that private schools which violate the COVID-19 protocols may lose their approval.

Addressing stakeholders in the education sector who attended the meeting, Professor Ebeku disclosed the adoption of two sessions, morning and afternoon, as a veritable measure to avoid over-crowding in schools with large populations.

He clarified that schools will reopen on 5th October for third term 2019/2020 academic session for six weeks, for students in JSS1 and JSS2 and SS1 and SS2 while first term 2020/2021 session will commence on the 16th of November 2020.

The commissioner further said: “schools must consider allowing on few students on campus at a time and all schools must ensure physical and social distancing at all times. Make-up classes can be scheduled on Saturday, although it is not compulsory.”

Furthermore, “if a school is capable, it should adopt blended learning approach. All staff and students must continually be educated on the need to comply with all COVID-19 Protocols.”

Continuing the Commissioner said “all students must come to school wearing their facemasks or NO ENTRY”. As part of measures to check over-crowding in schools, all schools should adopt two sessions, except where the population of the school is so small as to make possible for only morning session to hold”.

The stakeholders meeting of secondary schools was attended by members of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS; All Confederation of Principals of Public Schools (ANCOPPS), State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Rivers State Senior Secondary Schools Board (RSSSB), Parents Teachers Association (PTA) and other critical stakeholders in the education sector.

Education

Weeks after ASUU suspended strike, another set of university workers threaten to down tools

Published

on

University workers under the aegis of National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) have threatened to ground activities on campuses to protest alleged disparity in the allocation of the N40 billion Earned Academic Allowance to be released by the Federal Government.

The union on Sunday gave the government 14 day strike notice to address concerns raised in the sharing formula adopted for the earned allowances or risk another round of industrial action in public universities.

NAAT and two other university – based unions – the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) are protesting the alleged allocation of 75 percent to the Academic Staff Union of Universities and 25 per cent to them from the N40bn allowance.

But Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige said he was yet to receive official communication from the union about the planned strike by NAAT members.

The minister, who spoke with The Nation on Sunday, directed the leaderships of NAAT; SSANU and NASU to the National Universities Commission and the Federal Ministry of Education on the allocation of the N40bn allowance.

He said: “I have not see their notice of strike. When we see it we will call the attention of their employers which is the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission.

“But before then they should go to the NUC and Federal Ministry of Education and find out the exact position of the N40bn they are talking about. It is the NUC and FMoE that will determine what each union will get on the N40bn because they also have the template as submitted by the various universities for those earned allowances.”

The university workers are protesting the disparity in sharing of the N40 billion earned allowance released to the four university based unions.

They are also demanding that the government release 50 per cent of the N71 billion accrued allowance being owed members of the union from the 2009 agreement reached between government and the union.

President of SSANU, Comrade Mohammed Ibrahim expressed displeasure over government’s failure to honour agreements.

He said: “My members and by extension all other category of staff in Nigerian Tertiary institutions are disappointed and disenchanted by this singular act of government’s refusal to honor it’s promise to pay the arrears of the New National Minimum Wage that was approved by the government since April, 2020.”

NAAT president, comrade Ibeji Nwokoma told journalists in Abuja that the union has written to the minister of Labour and Employment informing him of their planned industrial action.

He said: “We have written to government that NAAT as a body ought to have been given a specified percentage of the N40bn. You must define it. You can’t just say ASUU 75 percent and others 25 per cent. Let us know the specific percentage you are giving to NAAT as a union.

“In the MoU we entered with government on November 18, in item number 2b, we demanded that in sharing of the N40bn released; that government should clearly define what is going to be allocated to each Union and government agreed to the genuineness of our demands and said NUC and Federal Ministry of Education will work it out in conjunction with the union. And what they have done negates completely the spirit of that MoU.

“We have given government ultimatum of 14 days. We wrote to government 30th December. And we have given government 14 working days and if at the end of the 14 working days our demands are not met, we resume our suspended strike. Definitely we will close down the schools, definitely there will be no opening of schools. If anybody thinks that ASUU has called of strike and that schools will reopen, then let the person dare us. Let us know how effective or how possible it is for schools to reopen when Technologists are on strike.

“If government in its own wisdom has said ASUU should take N30 billion from the N40 billionreleased, it is not the business of my union. But we have also told government that the arrears accruable to my union since 2009 to 2020, they have paid up to 2012, is N71bn and we have demanded for 50 percent of that amount and we have also given government ultimatum of 14 days if government fails to do that, we will call out our members on strike. Nobody has monopoly of closing or opening of Universities by strike. We have said that repeatedly.”

He explained that by now, the 2009 ought to have been renegotiated, but lamented that the agreement has not been fully implemented by the government.

According to Nwokoma, “It was supposed to have been renegotiated after 3 years. But since 2009 it has not been renegotiated.”

The NAAT president noted that the laboratories and studios in universities are in terrible condition as government had abandoned technology

He said: “We demanded that government should release N100 billion because if you go to all the universities, you will discover that the laboratories are dilapidated. We have asked government to release N100bn to bring the laboratories to international standard and then release another N20bn every year for the next 5 years to enable the Laboratories to be revamped.

“We have also asked that government should do an audit of the equipment that have been sent to Universities. Most are abandoned and are not in use.”

The Nation

Continue Reading

Education

End in sight to prolonged ASUU strike as Varsity teachers get two-month salary arrears

Published

on

Buhari declines assent on Nigeria Maritime University Bill

The Federal Government has commenced part payment of the salary arrears of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The payment is part of the carrots being offered by the government to make university teachers return to the classrooms after almost 10 months on strike.

It was learnt last night that ASUU leaders will today address a conference, where, according to a  source, the lecturers may suspend their strike.

It was learnt last night that ASUU leaders will today address a news conference, where, according to a  source, the lecturers may suspend their strike.

A professor in one of the federal universities in the North confirmed the development to The Nation on Tuesday. He said most of them received salaries for only two months out of the over six to eight months they are being owed.

The source, who pleaded anonymity, said the government began the payment after last Thursday’s meeting with the leadership of ASUU.

ASUU had in March directed its members  to embark on the strike over government’s insistence on their inclusion in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and non-implementation of previous agreements But, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the payment of their withheld February to June salaries on compassionate grounds to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

The Nation’s source, however, hinted that  ASUU might not direct its members to resume work until all the arrears were paid.

He said: “We are praying they agree at the meeting (between government and ASUU yesterday) since they paid us only two months. Today (yesterday), they met and I prayed they agree. Because most of our members said they (government) need to pay everything before resumption. That is where we are now.

“We are saying that they should pay four (months) they are owing us. If they pay four, it will remain only one, and then, may be, December; we will minus December which is the sixth one.

But now, they have paid only two months and promised that in January 2021, the payment of the remaining arrears will be made. The issue is that we don’t trust this government to keep to its promise.

“The government didn’t even allow us to agree to collect the two months. They just decided to pay  into our  accounts.”

Federal Government team, led by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige, met  again   with the leadership of ASUU yesterday   to persuade the lecturers to call of the strike.

Details of the meeting were not yet known as of press time.

An ASUU leader at the meeting lambasted Ngige for rushing to the press to announce that the government had met 98 percent of ASUU’s demands.

Ngige had  told reporters at his Alor country home in Anambra State  that universities will reopen next month.

But the ASUU leader who described the minister as crafty, also insisted that the lecturers would not suspend the strike until their   arrears were paid in full.

The source said: “You can see the trick. Now he (Ngige) has gone to the press to say they (government) has met 98 percent of our demands so we have no reason not to resume. That’s the news today (yesterday).

“Ngige is a very crafty person but he doesn’t know that he is joking with ASUU. I doubt it we will we resume if they (government) fails to pay all the arrears of salaries, I doubt it.

Continue Reading

News