STRONG indications emerged, yesterday, that officials of the Federal and Lagos State governments are working out guidelines for re-opening of schools, which closure was precipitated by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
This came as the Lagos State Government hinted that there are plans to employ no fewer than 2,000 more teachers in its public primary schools.
Similarly, the state government, through the Office of Education Quality Assurance, has designed an initiative, tagged: ‘Read-Aloud, Lagos’, to create and stimulate the interest of school children in reading books.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Folashade Adefisayo disclosed this during an online show, Covinspiration show, moderated by a United Nations Youth Ambassador, Dayo Isreal, while giving scorecard of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration within the 360 days.
On the possible re-opening of schools, Adefisayo said: “Like other sectors already approved by the Federal Government to reopen, the state government is meeting with officials of the Federal Ministry of Education to design guidelines that must be adopted before the schools will be re-opened.
“We are watching the behaviour of the pandemic to see what happens next and we are working with the Federal government on the re-opening of the schools in the country as soon as possible.
“This is not a decision that any state can unilaterally take on its own. If we are certain that the children are safe, we will reopen the schools for learning to resume.
“We are already working with the Federal Ministry of Education and they are working with National Center for Disease Control, NCDC, on the guidelines that could be adopted when the need arises for the schools to reopen.
“After the protocol is completed and health officials assured us that the coast is clear, we will give the schools some days to adjust their premises in accordance with the guidelines on commencement of academic activities.”
On the recruitment plan of teachers, Adefisayo said: “We have concluded the recruitment of 1,000 secondary school teachers. And we are currently working on the recruitment of 2,000 teachers for public primary schools.
“We are looking at employing teachers every quarter because the rate of retirement of teachers is very high in Lagos. The administration has granted the ministry permission to replace retired teachers.
“Aside from recruitment, we have spent a lot on the training of current teachers to improve their teaching skills in classrooms. And this COVID-19 period was the time when we were able to do a lot of things in the education sector of Lagos state.”
On Read Aloud Initiative, the Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, said:
“As an education quality assurance person, I was moved by the conviction that children perform better when they are led in the act of reading by someone else.”
Therefore, Reading-Aloud is expected to be the most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success.”