…Schools Disregard COVID-19 Protocols.
Four days after reopening of educational Institutions in Edo State, the defiant striking primary school teachers have contnued to shun the classrooms in spite of all manner of armtwistig tactics employed by the state government.
The teachers, under the umbrella of the Nigerian Union of Teachers, NUT, had embarked on an industrial action January 18, 2021 and had refused to return to the classrooms since resumption of schools February 1.
The teachers had spurned Monday’s restraining order by the Benin division of the National Industrial Court, NIC, and continued with their strike action leaving most schools desolate, while staff of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, who are not professional teachers, held the fort in some others where pupils reported for classes.
For the security of the SUBEB officials, the government had also deployed men of the Public Works Volunteers, PUWOV, to the schools.
A visit to one of the primary schools at upper Ekenwan Road on Thursday showed that the pupils who reported to the school were shared into three classrooms with primary five and six children being taught by one SUBEB staff.
The official, who identified himself as Peter Obaraye admitted that he is not trained teacher.
According to him, SUBEB staff were deployed to primary schools “as a matter of necessity because the pupils are willing to learn but the teachers are not available”.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), the Federal Teachers Scheme, FTS, was also mobilized to teach the pupils. I am not a trained teacher. I am a civil servant with SUBEB”, he told some visiting journalists.
A sick pupil who gave his name as John Idemudia was sighted outside the classroom lying on a plank.
Obaraye explained that he had asked all the pupils to get the telephone numbers of their parents written on their notebooks so that any of the parents could be contacted in case of any emergency.
The magazine observed non-compliance with COVID-19 guidelines as there was no provision of water for hand washing, neither was there anyone taking the temperature of people going into the school, or providing sanitiser.
Recall that the governor, Godwin Obaseki, had extended schools resumption by two weeks – from January 18 – February 1 -to enable government make adequate provisions for these facilities.
One of the PUWOV officials who did not disclose his name, said they (PUWOV) had asked the SUBEB officials to make available water, soap and hand sanitiser but such were not provided.
The faceoff between the NUT and the state government was over non-response to the teachers’ demand for the payment of almost two years salary arrears of some teachers by three local government councils, and the outstanding promotions for primary school teachers in the state.
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