By Funmi Ogundare
After months of disrupting the school calendar due to violent bandits attacks, Kaduna State has released a new resumption schedule for schools.
The Commissioner for Education, Shehu Makarfi, disclosed this recently during a virtual workshop. The workshop was themed ‘Consequences of Violent Attacks on Education in Nigeria’, organised by the Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria (EWAN), as part of activities to mark the second anniversary of the International Day to protect education from attack.
The new 2021/2022 academic calendar kicked off on September 12. The government scrapped the third term of the last session, with students given an automatic promotion to the next class.
Makarfi said the state worked out strategies towards ensuring the completion of the third term through online platforms, adding that resumption will be in phases. Students will resume within three weeks.
“As I speak with you now, we have just released our timetable for resumption for learning in our schools. The first term will resume on September 12, and they will be in school until December 16,” said Makarfi. “They have 14 weeks within which they will be dealing with a lot of lessons they have missed. They will have a holiday from December 16, 2021, to January 6, 2022. The second term will resume from January 9, 2022, to April 8, 2022, and they will have a holiday from April 9 till May 1, when the third term will resume.”
The commissioner said experiences from other states had taught them how to prevent further attacks in the schools, noting that while the schools were closed down officially, learning had continued unofficially.
“We are opening in phases; the SS1 and SS2 students from five local government areas which are affected by the crisis will be moved to some boarding schools which we have arranged,” he added. “The JSS students will also be moved to these boarding schools. We will make sure that they are all absorbed because they are few.”
Speaking on the theme of the workshop, the officer-in-charge of the Maiduguri chief of the field office for the United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF), Samuel Sessay, and the Executive Director of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Mrs. Motunrayo Alaka, highlighted the dangerous consequences of violent attacks on schools.
Sessay explained that between 2009 and 2020, 1,400 schools were damaged, more than one million children were forced out of school, 2,295 teachers were killed, with the annual dropout rate for children in the North-East highest in Nigeria.
Alaka charged journalists to focus more on quality reporting of the nation’s education sector, noting that thorough impact-driven reports are needed in the sector to achieve impacts.
In his remarks, the chairman of EWAN, Mr. Mojeed Alabi, said the association would work with relevant stakeholders in the sector to reclaim its lost glory.