By Williams Anuku, Abuja
While the impact of the novel Coronavirus continues to take its toll on all spheres of the Nigerian society, more facts has emerged into how the Federal Government mustered courage to order the reopening of schools for exit classes alone.
Elendu Reports gathered on Sunday, that while officials of the Presidential Task Force on COVID 19, chaired by Boss Mustapha was confused on how to go about relaxing lockdown to enable schools reopen, especially in view of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, (TRCN) came to its rescue by providing the formula which it used to conduct Professional Qualifications Examination (PQE), across 35 states, in accordance to COVID-19 safety guidelines.
According to Professor Josiah Ajiboye, Registrar of TRCN, over 15,000 intending teachers sat for the professional examination across 35 states of the federation, except in Kaduna State, where the prevalence of Covid-19 in July this year was relatively high.
“It was when TRCN successfully conducted its 2020 PQE July exams across the 35 states including the Federal Capital Territory that the Hon. Ministers of Education felt confident that if we were able to carry out this exams in accordance to COVID-19 safety guidelines, then basic schools could also be re-opened to exit classes for them to sit for their examinations,” Ajiboye said.
He stated that the Council, engaged batch by batch system including Computer Based Test in the conduct of the examinations.
On why it failed to conduct the examination in Kaduna State, the Council explained that it wrote to the Governor of the State, seeking permission to conduct the exams in July, but could not secure approval of the state government.
“We believe the state was not too comfortable with the idea because there were worrisome figures of COVID- 19 cases in the state, this may be part of their reasons,but we are ready as soon as they are ready, ”Ajiboye explained.
On the impact of COVID-19 on teaching professionals in Nigeria, TRCN said the livelihood of 63 million primary and secondary school teachers have been affected.
While many teachers are struggling to come to terms with the new realities, TRCN noted that the closure poses challenges for education systems across the globe.
“The COVID-19 global health crisis threatens to significantly slow progress towards many of the global goals in particular, the Sustainable Development Goals ,it is also likely to exacerbate the global learning crisis and global education inequalities as the impact will fall disproportionately on the poorest”.
The TRCN Registrar added that despite the pandemic, teachers have been on the frontline, ensuring that learning continues.
“Around the world ,teachers and school leaders have been rapidly mobilising and innovating to facilitate quality distance learning for students in confinement with and without the use of digital technologies.
“There is also the need to prioritize teachers and learners’ health, safety and well-being as schools are gradually being reopened to learners, “he stated.