Ebola: House of Representatives to review schools’ resumption date

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House of Representatives has asked its Committee on Education to take another look at the issue of resumption date for private and public primary/secondary schools in the country.

The directive was necessitated by growing concern among the public, especially parents and guardians of the students, following the recent decision by federal education authorities to re-open schools for the 2014/2015 academic session on September 22.

It would recalled that in the wake of the outbreak of the killer Ebola virus disease (EVD) in the country, Education Minister, Ibrahim Shekarau, had announced a postponement of the resumption date of schools from September to October 13 to give the health authorities enough time to ensure containment.

In a swift reaction, however, private school owners had opposed the one-month shift in resumption, making the Federal Ministry of Education to settle for a new date of September 22, 2014, after a meeting with stakeholders in the sector.

But responding to inquiries from journalists in Abuja on Tuesday, Deputy Chairman of Media and Public Affairs of the House, Victor Afam Ogene, stated that the leadership resolved to mandate the Committee on Education to take another look at the issue “in the overall interest of the pupils and students, parents and guardians and the general well-being of the entire country”.

“You will recall that upon the outbreak of the dreaded Ebola virus disease in Nigeria, the House Committee on Health rose up to the occasion by interfacing with the health authorities, the result of which is the positive containment efforts and call-off of the strike by doctors in the country,” Ogene noted.

He added that given the reality of some persons still under surveillance, and the likelihood of having other cases, there was the need to put the safety of children and that of the entire country into consideration, in arriving at when best to order a re-opening of both private and public schools.

“Only on Monday, September 8, 2014, a group, Africa Health, Human & Social Development Information Service (Afri-Dev. Info) had warned that the reopening of schools, involving no fewer than 80 million children, adolescents, students and teachers was a high-risk venture, which poses grave risk to all concerned,” the lawmaker recalled.

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