The importance of continuous learning to a student body like ours cannot be over emphasized. So we think there is need to guard against the impending future negative consequences on students especially the less privileged as well as those in the rural communities within the state. Most of these people do not have access to smart phones, Laptops, PCs or the required internet access with which they can participate in any of the online learning programs that are currently available. As it were, the online classes are no more effective even to those who could afford it due to parents’ and guardians’ absence at home to provide guidance for the kids.
Consequent upon these, We, the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit (LSAU), hereby appeal to the Lagos State government to urgently review the present closure of schools and put strict measures in place to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 with the aim of re-opening our schools in a gradual, phased and controlled manner throughout the state as soon as possible. We believe that this is the way to go as it will only further be in tandem with the efforts of the UNESCO in mitigating the immediate impact of school closures, particularly for the more vulnerable and disadvantaged persons and communities. The re-opening will as well as facilitate the resumption of learning for all through localized process.
In furtherance of this call we hereby put forward the following strategies that can be adopted to re-open our schools as suggestions:
1. That the government should allow pupils at the apex classes in both primary and secondary schools with essential needs for upcoming unified examinations such as common entrance, BECE & WASSCE (Primary 6, JSS3 and SSS3 respectively) to resume school as a pilot phase of the resumption, while others stay at home till there is assurance of a safer arrangement and environment. This will reduce the stress of the long, tiring routines for teachers and other stakeholders who will use face masks for hours as well as prevent overcrowding in the school premises, thereby allowing for better opportunities for the required physical distancing.
2. That students in the higher institutions of learning, public and private schools alike, should be allowed to resume academic activities, while the government enforces and ensures that the management of such institutions design guidelines, rules, regulations and modalities that will ensure compliance with the precautionary measures so designed. The employment of physical or social distancing (with classes done in batches or online where appropriate), use of face masks within the campus, sanitizers at all entry & exit points in the school are some useful measures.
Finally, on behalf of the Muslim students, we commemorate and felicitate with the action governor, His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Olusola SanwoOlu on the laudable and successful work done so far in his first year in office as Governor of Lagos State. Two of such commendable strides in the last 365-days of his administration in the educational sector are the successful recruitment of teachers into primary and secondary schools and the introduction of the ‘Eko Excel Programme’ for primary school teachers in the state.
We also appreciate his exemplary leadership role as incident commander in the fight against the unexpected war and unseen enemy – COVID-19.
We therefore implore the governor and his team not to rest on their oars given the successes achieved thus far but rather, going forward, increase their efforts at revitalizing the public schools’ glory as the bedrock and factory that produces future leaders.
We pray Almighty Allah continue to bless, safeguard and enrich Lagos State, Nigeria and heal the world at large of deadly COVID-19. Aameen.