The Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau, on Monday, debunked insinuations by some stakeholders in the country that the Federal Government was influenced on the change of resumption date of students for the 2014/2015 academic session from October 13 to September 22 over the Ebola virus containment.
The minister, who stated this while addressing the House of Representatives’ Committee on Education on the controversies that trailed the Federal Government’s decision to shift the resumption date of students, maintained that government’s new directive was based on professional advise from the Federal Ministry of Health.
This is coming just as the NMA backed out on its earlier position against the new date proposed by the Federal Government.
The minister, while debunking the allegations that the Education Ministry was influenced by private school owners to bring backwards school resumption date noted that “at no time did anybody influence this (resumption date) decision. There were reports that the private sector influenced the decision. That is not true.
“It may surprise you that when we fixed October 13, some people were very angry with us,” stressing that “what we did was purely on the professional advise from the Federal Ministry of Health. You have to live and survive to get education.
“If the Federal Ministry of Health tells us tomorrow that it is not safe for people to congregate, we will have to comply,” the minister stated.
While lamenting criticism from Nigeria Union of Teacher (NUT) on the matter, the minister said the association never got to the ministry on the shift in school resumption date before it went to press, stressing that “people are trivialising this matter.”
The minister also accused NUT of dancing to the gallery, saying, “the civilised thing I expect the NUT to do is to reach out to the minister, permanent secretary or any senior official in the ministry.”
On his part, NMA president, Dr Kayode Obembe, stated that: “As regards the issue of schools’ resumption for the first term of the 2014/2015 academic year from this September, it is important that in order not to feed into the unhealthy fear monster in the country, schools should resume.”
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