Confusion trails resumption dates as schools remain shut in Edo

The resumption date for public schools in Edo State is generating controversies as some of the institutions were under lock and key despite a directive by the state government for the schools to resume third term 2021/2022 academic sessions today, April 25, 2022.

The Edo State ministry of education, through its permanent secretary, Gilbert Egwakhide, had on Friday, last week, announced that academic activity would commence April 25, 2022, urging all public, private primary and secondary schools to comply with the directive.

But, a visit by BusinessDay to some government-owned schools across Benin City indicates that primary and junior secondary schools were shut while senior secondary schools were opened for the day’s business irrespective of the low turnout of students present for resumption.

Some schools visited include Eresoyen primary school in Ikpoba-Okha local government area, Ugbiokho primary school in Egor LGA, Asoro primary school, Imaguero College, Benin City, and Oredo secondary school in Oredo council area.

A principal of one of the schools visited, who craved anonymity, said: “Yes, it is true. We have resumed, but we have a conflicting report as regards the resumption date. Last week, we received different messages that primary and junior secondary schools will resume May 9, while secondary schools will resume Monday, April 25, 2022.

Another school head, who also pleaded not to be mentioned in print, said: “There is not much going on. We have about 11 students around today. I am sure the poor turnout has to do with the variation of the resumption date. All members of staff are on site.”

Gilbert Egwakhide, permanent secretary, Edo State ministry of education, told BusinessDay in Benin City that the initial date for all schools to resume was later deferred to May 9, for reopening of primary and junior secondary schools only, following a waiver granted to the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) after the earlier announcement was made.

school shut in Edo
SUBEB came to appeal to the commissioner to have a waiver for primary and junior secondary schools

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Clarifying the contradiction of the resumption date, he said “The ministry controls three agencies, which are the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Edo State Board of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and Post Primary Education Board (PPEB).

“We had a meeting on Friday, and the ministry of education made a decision that April 25, 2022 will be a reopening date for schools in Edo State. Before this time, the federal government released May 9 for the resumption date to harmonise the calendar across the country.

“But, later, they brought out a calendar involving Junior secondary school three and senior secondary school three to resume on April 25 because they are certificate classes.

“So, we made a decision that all schools will open on April 25. Just after the press release was issued last week, SUBEB came to appeal to the commissioner to have a waiver for primary and junior secondary schools to resume May 9.

“The commissioner, thereafter, granted the waiver because of the reasons given, and said that public primary and junior secondary schools should resume May 9, while public senior secondary schools; private primary, junior and senior secondary schools should resume April 25.

“SUBEB subsequently issued a release to that effect, but because of the closeness to April 25, the publication wasn’t widely circulated,” he said.

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