The Kwara State Government has reopened 10 secondary schools shut over face-off on the usage of hijaab, a Muslim headscarf, and cautioned the teachers and principals against continued discrimination of the headcover within the school premises.
It said that the affected schools leadership should commence academic activities beginning from Wednesday March 17, 2021 and hold at least two-hour extra lesson for all West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) applicants after school hours daily.
The government stated that the decision to reopen the affected schools, even as stakeholders’ continued engagement to restore peace and harmony, was taken after after a thorough consideration of the WASSCE applicants.
Reopening of the schools and other details were contained in a statement made available to The Guild on Wednesday and signed by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Kemi Adeosun, adding that the government would provide light lunch for the students until the beginning of their exams while teachers allotted for the extra coaching will get stipends for their efforts.
“This is to bring the students up to speed ahead of the impending external examination. The closure of the schools was necessary to forestall security breaches that may affect lives and properties.
“The government is convinced that its policy to allow willing Muslim schoolgirls to wear their hijaab in public schools will lead to sustainable peace and communal harmony anchored on mutual respect and understanding.
“This path to mutual respect, understanding, and peace with regards to hijaab had long been adopted in all of northern Nigeria and many states in the Southwest such as Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and Oyo States.
“The government sincerely commends the Christian and Muslim leaders for their understandings and their efforts to build peace within their respective communities in the past weeks. It urges everyone to join hands with the government to raise a generation of schoolchildren who will respect one another’s differences and together build a sustainable future for our state.
“Finally, the government reminds all its employees such as school principals and teachers in the affected schools to take special note of the policy. There will be zero tolerance for violations of anyone’s fundamental human rights under their watch”, it added.