The Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, has withdrawn its opposition to the reopening of schools in Nigeria on September 22 on the conditions that the federal government maintains a “high level of vigilance” in the country’s several entry points and ensure comprehensive screening of travelers.
President of the NMA, Kayode Obembe, announced the new position of the doctors on Monday during a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Education in Abuja.
The doctors had previously argued that schools should not be reopened until all those under surveillance for the Ebola Virus Disease in the country are certified free but on Monday said after a review of the situation it believed that keeping the schools closed would be creating an unnecessary atmosphere of fear among citizens.
“In regard to the issue of schools resumption for the first term of the 2014/2015 academic year from this September, it is important that in order not to feed into the unhealthy fear monster in the country, school should resume,” Obembe said.
On his part, the Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, stated that that government’s directive was based on “professional advise” from the health ministry, denying allegations that it was being influenced by private school owners to bring forward school resumption to September 22 as against an earlier reported October 13.
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“It (resumption date) was a unanimous decision taken after a meeting with all state education commissioners and the health ministry. The ministry (education) also wrote all state governors to give the directive more weight. At no point did anybody influence this decision. There were reports that the private sector influenced the decision. That is not true,” Shekarau said.
The minister also pledged to raise the level of quality of teachers and service delivery in the sector, noting that the quality of teachers determine the quality of development and growth of any country.