The Federal Government and 36 states Commissioners for Education has recently agreed that secondary schools and tertiary institutions, should remain in session during the general elections.
The decision was made at the meeting which was presided by the Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, and held on February 2, 2015 in his office in Abuja.
According to Punch, decision makers included stakeholders in the education sector drawn from the National Universities Commission, the National Board for Technical Education and the National Commission for Colleges of Education.
Talking to journalist after the meeting, Shekarau said that there were no weighty reasons to close schools. He also expressed his assurance that the state governments would be mobilized to provide adequate security for boarding institutions marked as polling units for the elections.
“At the end of our deliberations with commissioners from 36 states of the federation and the FCT and the management of NUC, NBTE and NCCE, we resolved as follows:
“That all schools and institutions should remain in session while the elections take place over the weekends as stipulated by the INEC timetable. It our belief that we have had elections in the past when schools were in session and in view of the fact that we are just almost halfway into the second term of the school calendar, it is not right to close down the schools now.
“Again, we have suffered a lot in our schools during the last Ebola crisis and many schools are battling to catch up with the lost period and there is no reason before us that compels us to decide otherwise in closing the schools.
“We also agreed that all schools that are used to having mid-term breaks that have not yet gone on that mid-term break should put it on hold. All mid-term breaks in all schools should be suspended for this term; those on mid-term break already should resume back to their schools immediately and continue their lessons.
“Also in schools where we have polling stations, particularly boarding schools whose premises are being used as polling stations, we have decided to call upon the state governments and Ministries of Education to ensure the provision of adequate security.”
It would be recalled that students and their parents have been calling on the federal government to shut down schools, for at least two weeks. In their opinion the recent developments within the country have clearly shown that schools are targets for the aggrieved.