COVID-19: Kano Govt Approves N3.2bn For School Rehabilitation

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Kano State Government says it has earmarked N3. 2 billion for schools rehabilitation and construction of classrooms to ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols when the schools resume.

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Dr Danlami Hayo, Executive Secretary, Kano State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), made this known while speaking with newsmen on the sideline of a one-day orientation exercise for School Base Management Committees (SBMC), on Thursday in Kano.

The orientation was organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Board to sensitise communities on schools reopening gidelines.

Hayo disclosed that the Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje had approved the amount to fast track school rehabilitation, construction of additional schools and classrooms as part of preparation to reopen schools in the state.

He said the gesture was imperative to encourage compliance with social distancing and COVID-19 guidelines outlined by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The added that the state government was not in a hurry to reopen schools without putting in place necessary facilities to protect pupils and teachers to stem further spread of the pandemic.

Danlami said: “The state government approved N3.2 billion for school rehabilitation, and why is it necessary to spend such huge amount of money?

“We know the population of Kano State and we know the pupils’ enrollment before the introduction of free and compulsory education programme is 1.5 million.

“After the implementation of the policy the enrollment increased to 3.5 million, and now there is outbreak of Coronavirus.

“The state government is spending to rehabilitate schools; we emphasised on construction of new classrooms and storey buildings in Kano metropolis where there is high population of pupils.

“Additional schools will be rehabilitated and new ones constructed in rural areas of the state.”

Hayo said that the state government had also expended over N100 million on procurement of hand sanitisers and other COVID-19 preventive kits for distribution to schools.

According him, the Board will train teachers on COVID-19 preventive tips to enable them protect themselves and their students to curb community transmission of the disease.

He added that the Board had also procured instructional materials and furniture for distribution to the schools while cars and motorcycles would be distributed to the teachers.

The Secretary reiterated government’s commitment to ensure prompt payment of salaries and improved welfare for teachers.

While commending UNICEF for organizing the orientation exercise, Hayo urged communities to protect school infrastructure and support government programmes to reinvigorate the education sector.

Also speaking, Tijjani Haladu-Baraya, the state Chairman of  SBMC, said the exercise was important towards promoting community engagement in the preparations for the schools reopening processes.

Haladu-Baraya described the exercise as critical toward preventing spread of the virus when the schools reopened.

“The orientation exercise avail the SBMC opportunity to prepare and get ready in ensuring compliance with necessary COVID-19 protocols and the guidelines set out by the Federal Ministry of Education to facilitate safe reopening of schools.

“We want the pupils to be safe and their safety is the safety of the community because once a child is infected, he will transmit the virus to other members of the community,” he said.

Dr Ogu Enemeka and Muntaka Mukhtar, UNICEF resource persons, said the exercise was designed to disseminate guidelines for schools reopening and strengthen community engagement in ensuring safe reopening of the schools.

Enemeka called on the SBMC members to work towards encouraging participatory learning processes in their respective communities.

Mukhtar also enjoined the committees to work toward promoting good hygiene, sanitation and adherence to COVID-19 protocols to make the school environment safe.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the exercise was attended by officials of SUBEB, community leaders and members of the SBMC drawn from the 44 local government areas of the state.

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