The Association of Model Islamic Schools (AMIS), Kwara State chapter, has called on the state Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to reopen schools for 3rd term of 2019/2020 academic session not later than 21st September, 2020.
AMIS said that it would be catastrophic for the state if schools do not reopen as soon as possible.
The Chairman of AMIS, Prof. Abdulrazaq Olayinka Oniye, who spoke in Ilorin yesterday at a press briefing, said that whatever that makes markets and places of worship safe for reopening, also qualifies schools for reopening.
Prof Oniye noted that the experiment about reopening of schools that had inadvertently taken place with partial reopening of schools for certificate examinations, had shown the fears about schools reopening are exaggerated.
“We are confidently assert that schools are safe to reopen and we are ready to do the needful. It is being opined in some quarters that government is reluctant to reopen schools because it is incapable of doing the needful.
“Government should dispel this notion by allocating resources that will enable public schools to reopen and fully observe COVID-19 protocols. It will be unfair to stop private schools that are ready to comply with COVID-19 protocols from reopening just because public schools can’t”.
The AMIS Chairman strongly warned against abridging school curriculum, adding that such curriculum abridgment happened in the past but with disastrous consequences.
“This is partly responsible for the perceived decline in education standard. When curriculum is abridged, some foundation topics are not taught in each subject and the topics based on them are not understood when taught by students. For this reason, we strongly advise that the government should not toy with the idea of skipping the third term of the 2019/2020 academic session or promoting students to the next class without writing examinations”.
AMIS commended the administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for the bold steps taken so far to address the challenges facing education sector across the state, especially renovation of some public schools.
“We also want to appreciate his kindness for giving palliative to staffers of private schools in the heat of lockdown, even though staffers in AMIS schools were left out by those that government partnered with to distribute the palliative materials. We hope that the loan for private schools by His Excellency, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq will be meaningful quantum and its distribution will not be skewed against AMIS member schools”.
Speaking further, Prof Oniye called on the government to issue autonomous calendar to private schools, saying that government should only give guidelines on the number of weeks required for learning and holiday but leave individual schools to fill in the specific details of activities.
The don also implored government to consider the possibility of downward review of levies, taxes and charges as well as multiple taxation on private schools.
“It should be appreciated that government is not, and may not in the foreseeable future, be in a position to build adequate number of schools even as existing public schools are too congested. The only saving grace is to encourage more private schools to fill the vacuum and care should be taken not to hamper the operation of private schools through stifling levies and taxes”.
While advising both public and private schools to adhere strictly with COVID-19 protocols as released by NCDC, the association urged the government to make adequate budgetary provision for education sector in line with the UNESCO and other international standards.
Prof Oniye, who noted with displeasure that AMIS had lost millions of naira to the lockdown as a result of Coronavirus pandemic, appealed to the government, parents and other stakeholders to invest more in the education sector to ensure full functionality of schools.
He assured that the association would not rest on its oars not only as the change agents for development but in building an environment where faith, discipline and selfless service are inculcated in the students.