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COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY COMMISSIONERS OF EDUCATION OF THE 19 NORTHERN STATES

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY COMMISSIONERS OF EDUCATION OF THE 19 NORTHERN STATES INVOLVED IN STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAMME (SEP), AFTER A VIRTUAL MEETING ON SCHOOL REOPENING AND OTHER MATTERS, HELD ON THURSDAY JULY 9, 2020.

1.00 Background
The Commissioners of Education from the 19 Northern States involved in secondary schools’ exchange program (SEP), on July 9, 2020, held a virtual meeting to discuss pressing issues, including school reopening and other matters affecting the education sector. Several challenges confronting the schools under SEP were enumerated and discussed, with a view to finding lasting solutions and strengthening the education sector.
The meeting have in attendance 13 states namely; Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Niger, Nassarawa, Adamawa, Taraba, Kogi, Kwara, Katsina, Kano, Borno and Jigawa.

2.00 Observations
1.The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu’s stand on postponement of school reopening was commendable and we are in full support of the decision.
2. The ministers’ reasons for keeping schools closed was appropriate in ensuring that children remain safe while efforts were being made to make schools safe from Coronavirus (COVID-19) before reopening will be considered.
3. There is the need for the minister to coordinate meetings in the education sector to find common ground and agree on safe reopening of schools.
4. The Federal Government needs to support states in putting safety measures in place for school reopening as parts of its COVID-19 Social Intervention Project, considering that many states may not have the financial strength to embark on such a huge capital extensive project. This could be done with support from development partners or through loans.
5. The ban of child begging in the name of Almajiri system of education by northern state governors was commendable.
6. However, States should come up with a legal framework to enforce the ban and carry out massive awareness campaign to enlighten the public and enlist the support of parents and caregivers.

3.00 Resolutions
1. Challenges affecting the School Exchange Programme should be addressed by various state governments to ensure high standard of learning in the schools.
2. Sports, quiz and debating competition among schools in the region will be reintroduced and other interventions implemented to bring back the lost glory of the students exchange programme.
3. We resolved that schools should be opened only when it is safe to do so and when states have complied with the minimum COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by the NCDC.
3. We will participate in WASSCE and other examinations only when it is safe to reopen schools and when coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education.
4. States should carry out a wholistic assessment of schools to determine their readiness to reopen and submit report to their respective governors for consideration.
5. The states should also take steps to provide critical facilities required for reopening of schools as specified by the NCDC.
5. Schools’ infrastructure, such as dilapidated classrooms, students hostels, source of safe water, sanitary facilities, including hand washing equipment and security should be improved, while clearing of grasses and fumigation of the schools surroundings should be conducted to support learning and ensure safety when schools resume.

Signed

Shehu Usman Muhammed, Ph.D.
Commissioner of Education
Kaduna State and Chairman,
School Exchange Programme
July 9, 2020.

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