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COVID-19: FCT Minister is reason schools quickly settled in after resumption - Sabo, Director of Finance, UBEB

4th Jan, 2021 | By Mohammed S. Lawal | ||

Director of Finance and Administration (DFA), Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA)'s Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB), Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Sabo, has proffered one explanation why education in the nation's capital quickly got back to its feet in the wake of this year's COVID-19 lockdown and the aftermath.

Alhaji Sabo singled out the Minister of FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, as being the major catalyst for schools throwing their gates open again after about a seven month-long closure due to the pandemic. He was fielding questions from Abuja Digest Weekly in his office regarding certain recent developments in the education sector in the Territory. Asked the singular factor for the seamless reopening of schools and their continued uninterrupted running, the Director was quick to point to the Minister, lauding him for his passion for education which, he added, ensured that every financial, material and other necessary resource required for schools to welcome pupils and teachers for learning and teaching activities, were provided.

He said: '' Thanks to the Honourable Minister, FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello; he was magnanimous enough to release reasonable amount of money to all the schools in FCT to enable them buy the necessary equipment towards safeguarding both the teachers and the schools against COVID-19 pandemic. '' Because of the passion the Honourable Minister has for education, actually he put in enough into basic education immediately after the pandemic eased down so that our pupils can go back to school and continue with learning activities.''

Asked to comment on the effects of the lockdown on schools run by the board, Alhaji Sabo painted a gloomy picture, saying the situation knocked schools prostrate as educational institutions were shut for months with completion of the academic syllabus seriously threatened at the time. His words: '' Actually, we just started the second term, between January and March, and from March, we went into lockdown. Since then, our schools had been closed and, as you're aware, our responsibility as a board is mainly the management of Basic education in FCT.

''Schools resumed in September this year. So, you can imagine the gap. So, the year has been uneventful because of the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We're taking measures to ensure that the teaching and learning activities are not affected and the schools are able to cover the syllabus for this particular session.'' However, with solid support from the Minister, he recalled, and ahead of resumption, schools were thoroughly disinfected and amid strict health protocols, as handed by government, put in place to ensure safety of the returning school community and visitors. Such efforts paid off as presently there is no report of COVID-19 affecting any student of the schools.

Alhaji Sabo lamented the drastically reduced revenue during the enforced schools' closure, saying it impacted many aspects too. Nonetheless, with the academic institutions up and running, he said he envisages a better future. Questioned on the expectations of government from parents and the wider society now that schools are open, the Director said a lot was expected of them. Alhaji Sabo remarked that, for instance, government expects communities to jealously guard government assets in their domains, and also watch out for and report suspicious-looking visitors to the appropriate agencies for necessary instant action.

He also lauded Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) for assisting government all along in promoting basic education, but enjoined them to do more as education is the responsibility of everyone. Alhaji Sabo stated: ''One other responsibility to the community health is to ensure that they (parents) assist government in protecting their schools because these schools are theirs. They're established for the education of their children. ''So, they should assist in securing these schools against vandalism, encroachment and, possibly, be very observant of visitors to be able to prevent kidnappers from making inroad into their communities. I think this role is very important.

'' As always, what is expected of the parents too is to ensure that the pupils go to school. And we want to reassure the parents that government has taken all necessary measures to ensure that the pupils and teachers are protected against COVID-19 pandemic. So, their responsibility is to ensure that pupils go to school and the government takes over from there.

''You're aware that we're running a UBE programme in which there is compulsory free primary basic education for all pupils. So, that's a major area of responsibility for the parents. Notwithstanding, we expect some small areas where the parents can contribute to assist the government, especially through the PTA. They should continue. The PTAs are doing a very good job, especially in FCT.''

News Update

Defending the budget, Malam Bello called it a balanced budget, adding that capital expenditure will gulp 54.56% or N163,651,140,779.25 while recurrent expenditure takes home 45.44% amounting to N136,312,350,743.21 of the total estimates.

Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, has flagged off COVID-19 vaccination for residents of the Territory, just as she declared the safety of the vaccine.

Seven state Governors and one Deputy Governor graced the unveiling ceremony which was performed during the Nigerien President's visit to Nigeria. The unveiling was performed by the visiting President himself last week.

Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, who flagged off the programme last week in Gwagwalada, affirmed that the initiative was a strategy to enhance social inclusion.


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