Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
All primary and secondary schools in Abia State are now racing against time to meet the deadline set by the state government for them to conclude second term examinations and shut down because of the rampaging Coronavirus.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had set Friday, March 27, 2020 as the deadline for schools, both public and private, to conclude all academic activities and send students home, as part of measures to checkmate the Coronavirus.
In some states, schools have been forced to hurriedly close down without concluding the second term of the 2019/2020 academic session due to the determined efforts of state governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Abia has not recorded any index case of Coronavirus, but the governor said he won’t take chances hence the directive that schools should round off their academic activities and go on holidays.
“What we want to do is to encourage all primary and secondary schools to do everything within their powers to conclude their examinations and close by March 30,” he said, adding, “we want them to do everything possible to meet the deadline.”
Ikpeazu said he would discuss with the commissioner for education “to see how we can provide incentives for our teachers to work extra hours to ensure that our children and pupils who are in various schools conclude their exams and then vacate by the 30th.”
He explained that the measure was to ensure that what the students have learnt and the time they have spent in the second term “will be useful and the parents will have value for their money.”
Meanwhile the governor has cancelled the 27th convocation ceremony of the Abia State University (ABSU), Uturu, originally scheduled to hold on Friday, March 27.
He said a convocation ceremony is a big event that involves foreign visitors and for that it would not be allowed to hold in the present pandemic situation, adding that he has directed the university management to send the students home.
Ikpeazu stated that he would provide a contingency fund of N10 million for each of the tertiary institutions in Abia to enable them set up online platforms for teaching and learning.
This, according to him would make students to continue to be in contact with their lecturers during the duration of the indefinite holidays induced by COVID-19.