Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, today announced a September resumption of schools in Lagos, sparking controversial reactions from students across the country.
The general assumption is that the Federal Government should have the final say on reopening of schools as it was the FG that ordered the initial closing of schools nationwide on March 19.
Sanwo-Olu, while speaking at the State House, Marina today said, ”This decision is not cast in stone and is subject to review of our ongoing modelling and what procedure comes out from the Ministry of Health.”
His statement expressly represents the state’s readiness to open the doors of its institutions to students, having implemented ”ongoing modelling” that should address health risks involved.
Stakeholders in the state’s education sector may have been consulted to discuss and conclude that proper preparation has been made for the reopening on September 14.
Also important to note is that the statement of the Governor begins by clarifying that ”this decision is not cast in stone and is subject to review of…”
– Who conducts this review? –
If the State has shown its cards based on what Sanwo-Olu describes as a peak in the number of cases, and a steady decline in new cases, this factor influenced the decision to reopen schools but casting the decision in stone lies in the hands of the Federal Government.
The Ministry of Education earlier revealed that it met with the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 to brief it on a stakeholders meeting it held with Tertiary Institutions representatives across the county.
In the meeting, privately-owned Universities expressed readiness to reopen while government-owned institutions indicated a 50-50 readiness.
Another meeting is on the cards for stakeholders, and this may affect the reopening order of the Lagos State Government.
– ASUU –
Having established the role of the Ministry of Education and Presidential Task Force in affirming the decision to reopen schools, the relevance of the Associative body of Universities’ academic staff bears mentioning.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has consistently reiterated its unwillingness to return to work until salaries of its members have been addressed by the Federal Government.
If the standoff between the body and the FG continues, reopening tertiary institutions may expose the government to backlash if the reopened schools don’t translate to academic activities.
Whatever happens in the next two weeks, the Federal Government remains at the center of it all.