THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called for the immediate releases of intervention funds to all institutions to enable them provide needed safety measures as the Federal Government has resolved to reopen schools after the long lockdown.
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The congress gave this position in a communique issued after a joint meeting of NLC affiliate unions in the education sector and the NLC Education Committee on the way forward on reopening of schools amidst the prevalence of the novel Coronavirus infections in the country.
The communique said the meeting was to brainstorm on measures to be put in place before schools in Nigeria could re-open given the prevalence of the pandemic.
The NLC affiliate unions in the education sector have expressed concerns about their safety as schools reopen. The union’s include: the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions (NASU); the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU); the Senior Staff Association of Polytechnics (SSANIP); the Senior Staff Union of in Colleges of Education, Nigeria (SSUCOEN); the National Association of Academic Technologist (NAAT); the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT); the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU); and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).
The communique said: “The congress is of the view that adequate infrastructure needs to be provided in schools to ensure effective enforcement of the NCDC protocols and guidelines on COVID-19.
“Reopening of schools need to be done with due diligence and utmost precaution given the overcrowded nature of schools at the both primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
“The government should bring all stakeholders in the primary and secondary education sub-sector comprising the unions, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, Parent Teachers Association (PTA), Committee of Vice-Chancellors/Provosts of Polytechnics and Colleges of Educations, All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCPSS) to deliberate on the way forward on the need to reopen schools".
It also stressed the need to create a post COVID-19 reopening plans and strategies based on the NCDC protocol and guidelines.”
Also, the congress emphasised the need to re-adjust the Nigerian federal budget for education and implement measures to assist institutions with the financial burden of managing COVID-19.
“There is need to train the staff of health centres in universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, secondary and primary schools, both teaching and non-teaching staff, on handling of pupils and students,” it added, saying that it is also important to adopt phased pr structured education activities, adjust examinations and lecture/teaching time.
On security personnels in schools, the NLC said: “There is need to revisit the outsourcing policy of security personnel and cleaners, especially in institutions of higher learning to enable the institutions to have full control of the security personnel and cleaners, as private cleaners and security personnel cannot guarantee the health and safety of staff and students.”
The communique stated further that “there is the need to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers and other essential workers for their safety and protection.
“We call for the immediate releases of intervention funds to all institutions to enable them to provide needed safety measures.”
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