…Colleges not drivers of pandemic – UNICEF
…Closure of varsities unconstitutional, disastrous — Afe Babalola
…College students threatening to beat up VCs, lecturers over closure – UNIBEN VC
By Adesina Wahab & Rotimi Ojomoyela
Stakeholders within the training sector, yesterday, advised the Federal Authorities that they’re in assist of reopening of colleges, if all obligatory security measures and services are in place to stem the unfold of COVID-19.
They embody the Nigerian Union of Lecturers, NUT, Nationwide Mother and father Lecturers Affiliation of Nigeria, NAPTAN, Nationwide Affiliation of Nigerian College students, NANS, and even the Tutorial Workers Union of Universities, ASUU.
The stakeholders have been additionally reacting to the advisory of the the United Nations Training Fund, UNICEF, which mentioned Tuesday that the closure of colleges as a result of COVID-19 pandemic will influence negatively on the event, security and well-being of kids globally, noting that faculties aren’t drivers of the viral illness.
That is at the same time as famend lawyer and founding father of Afe Babalola College, Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, yesterday described the continued closure of colleges as unjust.
Vice-Chancellor of the College of Benin, Professor Lilian Salami, who apparently down-played the fears of stakeholders about faculties reopening, mentioned yesterday that college students are threatening to beat up lecturers over continued closure of universities, assuring that administration of varsities are able to resume educational actions in a protected and safe method, as prescribed by the Presidential Process Drive, PTF, on COVID-19.
The Federal Authorities had set Monday, January 18 as resumption date for faculties within the nation, although the Minister of Training, Adamu Adamu had mentioned the date was not sacrosanct.
UNICEF had warned that the consequences of closing faculties for one more yr will probably be felt for generations to come back, sustaining that regardless of overwhelming proof that faculties aren’t drivers of the pandemic, steps had been taken to make sure that they remained shut.
“Within the case of lock-downs, faculties have to be among the many first to reopen as soon as authorities begin lifting restrictions.
“Catch-up lessons ought to be prioritised to make sure that youngsters who’ve been unable to be taught remotely aren’t left behind.
“If youngsters are confronted with one other yr of faculty closures, the consequences will probably be felt for generations to come back,” UNICEF warned.
The UN company famous that the variety of out-of-school youngsters is ready to rise by 24 million to a degree not but seen in years and to a degree it has fought so exhausting to beat.
In the meantime, the stakeholders, who spoke with our correspondent, additionally famous that the decision by the United Nations Youngsters’s Fund that faculties shouldn’t be closed additional due to the destructive results it might have on the society at massive was based mostly on the proviso that each one obligatory services to make sure the protection of academics, college students and others have been put in place.
The Nationwide President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, mentioned his union will not be against reopening faculties however famous that the needful ought to be executed by the federal government.
“Did UNICEF say faculties ought to reopen with out placing the mandatory security measures in place? We’ve had some conditions within the nation the place numerous faculty youngsters examined constructive to the illness. The youthful ones are even stronger and have immunity that’s stronger than the aged.
“We’ve seen professors die like chickens. We should say this: That we’re not against the reopening of colleges however the needful have to be executed. Let the federal government implement security pointers they rolled out final July.
“Within the pointers, they mentioned all stakeholders should assess the state of affairs in every faculty and agree that all the things is okay earlier than such faculties are reopened. The prescription they’ve made is not going to be applied by angels or some folks from Mars. They need to present the enabling surroundings and that’s what we’d like,” he mentioned.
The Nationwide Secretary of the NUT, Dr Mike Ene, and the Nationwide Treasurer, Comrade Segun Raheem, famous that UNICEF had been contributing drastically to the welfare of kids worldwide and wouldn’t need any authorities to do something to jeopardise their welfare.
Ene mentioned although it’s inimical to maintain college students at dwelling perpetually, solely those that are alive might strategise.
“If we all know what we are able to do to get the youngsters again to highschool with out placing their lives and people of others in peril, no downside. Public locations like markets and others are opened. We will open the colleges however with modifications. We will additionally apply extra measures than those we have now on floor now.
“Analysis has proven that crimes like rape have been on the rise throughout the lock-down, but when college students are engaged positively, there will probably be no points. Apparently, we’re step by step getting used to the protection protocols. My small youngster is aware of the significance of face-mask, sanitiser, and different security measures,” Ene mentioned.
Raheem mentioned training drives the financial system of any nation, however added that something that would unfold the virus ought to be put at bay.
“My tackle the matter is that we all know massive gatherings assist unfold the illness and faculties are massive gatherings; we should not solely be security acutely aware however should present obligatory services and cling to all protocols. Do we have now all these in place?” he requested.
NANS frowns at continued shutdown of colleges
Equally, the South-West Zonal Coordinator of NANS, Comrade Kappo Samuel Olawale, mentioned so long as some faculties within the nation are in session and had been in a position to deal with the pandemic with no instances reported, faculties ought to reopen.
“It’s clear that we would not have the know-how to manage digital studying as it’s being executed in developed nations, however this could not imply a pause to the training of Nigerian youngsters. We’re discovered adults and can adhere to all security protocols. We’re assured that our members is not going to breach any protocol meant to guard them,” he mentioned.
Olawale additionally referred to as on the authorities to offer the services wanted for the protection of all stakeholders.
Mother and father need youngsters again in faculties
The Nationwide President of NAPTAN, Haruna Danjuma, in his response, mentioned his affiliation and fogeys at massive are weary of scholars staying at dwelling.
He,nevertheless, promised that like his affiliation did throughout the outbreak of Ebola some years again when it helped within the provision of security services, it’s going to achieve this once more.
“There is no such thing as a want for this confusion. All different public locations are opened. My worry is that authorities is shying away from the availability of services for protected reopening of colleges. Mother and father, college students are able to adjust to all protocols, let the federal government do its personal half,” he said.
Closure of varsities unconstitutional, disastrous— Afe Babalola
Lending his voice to the necessity to reopen faculties, yesterday, authorized luminary and founding father of Afe Babalola College, Ado Ekiti, ABUAD, Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, described as unconstitutional the mass closure of Nigerian universities by the Federal Authorities as a result of second wave of COVID- 19 pandemic .
Babalola, who spoke in Ado-Ekiti at a press convention about makes an attempt by the Federal Authorities to defer resumption of universities earlier slated for January 18, mentioned such motion will grow to be counter-productive and disastrous to the training sector, particularly closing down of personal faculties with out prior session.
Expressing opposition to mass closure of universities, Babalola mentioned:
“I’m of the agency view that mass closure of colleges is unconstitutional, disastrous and counter productive.
“It’s actually unjust to the mother and father, academics, college students and proprietors of colleges and likewise violates the rule of pure justice.”
Babalola disclosed that the USA Centre for Illness Management and Prevention had taken all these into consideration when it formally really helpful that universities ought to be accorded preferential remedy beneath COVID-19 when it comes to operations.
“The USCDC mentioned universities are totally different when it comes to measurement , geographical location, construction and of their talents to take measure that may assure minimal threat to college students and academics of their faculties, which in flip will guarantee undistrupted and on-campus studying for college students.
“Quite the opposite, universities which don’t possess these services are inside excessive threat class.
“I hereby strongly advise that the Federal Authorities ought to cease mass closure of colleges. All faculties, significantly the personal universities which have the required world-class well being services and have complied with Presidential Process Drive rules which is able to allow them to implement low to medium threat measures ought not and shouldn’t be shut down,” he mentioned.
He insisted that his 11 years outdated college had been having a clean and uninterrupted educational calendar earlier than abrupt disruption by COVID-19, thereby stalling operations of the college, regardless of the world class services it parades to forestall the unfold of the deadly illness.
The authorized luminary added: “The Federal Authorities ought to know that faculties in Ekiti are safer than that situated within the coronary heart of Lagos. We should contemplate the geographical location. Any employee right here who goes to Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt goes for particular take a look at and 7 days isolation. This underscores the extent.of our preparedness.”
He urged the Federal Authorities to emulate overseas nations by paying the salaries of lecturers in personal universities, which have been shut down due to COVID-19.
Babalola reminded Federal Authorities that ought to the low-risk personal universities stay shut down to attend for high-risk one will make the ivory towers stay comatose for lengthy .
On whether or not he’ll strategy the courtroom to problem the closure of personal universities, Babalola mentioned:
“I’m not going to courtroom as a result of we have now not exhausted the choice of negotiation and native treatment. I’m a buddy of the FG and I do know that the Legal professional-Normal of the Federation will look into it”.
On how his college had been affected, Babalola defined: “We will’t even quantify our losses. We’ve been following worldwide normal, which was September to July educational session earlier than this international downside.
“We’ve executed seven convocations in ten years . We used to pay salaries on the 24th of the month and no person has been sacked, regardless of this suspension of labor. However this has affected our purse. How can we be paying for companies not rendered? That is unfair.
College students threaten to beat up lecturers, says UNIBEN VC
In the same improvement, the Vice-Chancellor of the College of Benin, Professor Lilian Salami, mentioned yesterday that college students are already threatening to beat up lecturers over continued closure of universities, saying the varsity administration is able to resume educational actions in a protected and safe method.
Salami, who famous that varsity managements had adhered to the directives of the Nationwide Universities Fee, NUC, and PTF to place measures in place to stem unfold of the virus, mentioned her college administration would implement strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols to guard college students and members of workers from being uncovered to coronavirus infections.
The vice-chancellor, who spoke whereas that includes onNTA Good Morning Nigeria breakfast present yesterday, mentioned some college students have began issuing threats to beat up lecturers ought to the closure of public universities persists.
Salami mentioned: “I wish to say categorically that vice-chancellors are accountable individuals, having gone by the furnace. We is not going to in any means wish to expose our workers and our college students to any hazard.
“Having mentioned that, public-funded universities are removed from what they should be. We’ve mentioned this time and again that there’s poor funding, infrastructure are down and decayed. The ratio of workers to college students is kind of massive, such that for correct studying to happen, we have now to deal with these points.
“We all know that these points exist however how lengthy are we going to attend till these points are taken care of? These shouldn’t proceed for use as causes faculties shouldn’t reopen. We are going to make do with what we have now now out there. As an example, we all know that residential college students are about 10 to 15 per cent of whole college students’ inhabitants. We are going to as a lot as doable implement compliance and that’s all we are able to do.
“Sure, they (college students) are very stressed; sure, they are going to wish to go and go to associates however we are going to attempt as a lot as doable – and I believe all Vice-Chancellors will do this – to guard our college students and our workers in order that we don’t unduly expose them to COVID-19. However to assume that if all of those aren’t taken care of, we is not going to reopen, I can guarantee you that within the subsequent ten years, the children will all be dwelling.
“We all know all these deficiencies and we are going to proceed to regulate and renovate the buildings on campus. It’s a gradual factor, there isn’t a magic about it.’’
“On a lighter be aware, I’ve heard some college students say, look, for those who don’t open, we are going to beat up the Vice-Chancellors and begin beating up the lecturers. Perhaps different vice-chancellors can take up the beatings however I can guarantee you that Professor Salami is just too fragile to be crushed.”
The vice-chancellor additional mentioned that UNIBEN has began the manufacturing of automated handwashing gear, hand sanitisers and different supplies essential in coping with the pandemic.
College students of public universities have been at dwelling since March 2020 when the Tutorial Workers Union of Universities started a nine-month-long strike over sure calls for. The union, nevertheless, conditionally suspended the economic motion on December 24, 2020, after numerous foot-dragging by lecturers and the Federal Authorities.
Nevertheless, when college students have been hopeful of returning to school rooms, the nation entered the second wave of the pandemic whereas the Presidential Process Drive on COVID-19 subsequently ordered faculties to stay closed until January 18, 2021 to include the spike in COVID-19 infections in Nigeria.
However ASUU has insisted that it’s not protected for lecturers and college students to return to school rooms because it can not assure social distancing in crowded lessons and congested hostels.