ASUU opposes school reopening this year

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU may be fighting the Federal Government over salary payment via IPPIS, but it has come out a surprise supporter of government shutting schools because of COVID-19.

President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi said his union supported the decision of the Federal Government to stop Senior Secondary School 3 pupils from partaking in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination earlier scheduled to commence on August 4.

Instead, ASUU wants schools shut till 2021.

On Friday government gave school owners up till 29 July to comply with specific guidelines towards reopening of schools. Some stakeholders have also expressed the need for final year students to be allowed to write their WASSCE.

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, legal luminary Chief Afe Babalola, the House of Representatives, are in support of school reopening, at least for WASSCE.

But against the trend of opinion, Ogunyemi said no reasonable government would take chances to reopen schools, unless parents would be told to sign an undertaking.

“Look, Kenya has said they have closed all their schools till next year (2021); they too have exams to write. Safety first. If it means closing the schools until next year to safeguard the lives of Nigerian children and safeguard the health of all Nigerians, so be it”, Ogunyemi told The PUNCH.

“So, if that will help us to address cases that can lead to increase in mortality, I think Nigerians should go that way and all of us should see reason for it. If they need to cancel admission for the year, it is good for them. Life matters first, people must have life first before they can go to university. Are the universities ready to work now?

“Our position is that they should not experiment with the lives of our children. Nobody can tell; the situation may soon normalise and they can do their exams and there is another opportunity for external candidates around November. So, it’s not as if the door is totally closed.”

The ASUU president added that the union had not seen any evidence to show that schools were secured for students to go back.

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