Poor attendance has greeted reopening of schools for students in exit classes to prepare and seat for West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) in Edo State barely four months after its sudden closure.
Although the schools adhered to COVID-19 guidelines but the students were said not to have turned up for the start of tutorial organized to prepare them for the examination scheduled to commence next Monday, August 17th.
As gathered, the action of the students on Monday has attracted condemnation from teachers that arrived early to commence the tutorial exercise and did not meet any students to teach, saying, inspite of government efforts to make the schools safe for them, they did not turn up.
As part of the guidelines to make the schools safe, the state government provided all the needed items, including face masks for students in public schools.
It was learned that while the state-owned facilities had adequate facilities to curb the virus spread, the private school owners only made provision for hand sanitizers and points for hand washing.
At Imaguero Girls College, it was gathered that as at 8:00 p.m, only a handful of students were available to commence learning which was expected to assist them cover the lost time.
A senior staff of the School, who pleaded anonymity, said that she had expected that the students would be eager to resume school after a prolonged stay at home.
She, however, said that it was not unexpected as most parents would not be readily disposed to allow their children back in school for fear of contracting the Coronavirus disease.
“As you can see for yourself, the teachers are more than the students; the students are scared to come back because of the disease,” she said.
Similarly, the Principal of Edokpolor Grammar School, Mr Austin Akenbor, said that though they were complying with COVID-19 guidelines, they expected a more robust turnout in schools from Tuesday.
The Commissioner for Education, Jimoh Ijegbai, however, expressed confidence that the students’ turn up will increase appreciably in the days to come.
“This is just the first day and am sure that the parents and the students are watching to see what happens today (Monday). Don’t also forget that the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) examination starts next Monday.
“As safety of these students, the state government has provided all that is required for their safety, including face masks.
“The fact that only terminal classes are resuming also makes things easier for us in terms of maintaining social distancing in classes.”