BY Joseph Edegbo
The Lagos State Government has enjoined all schools to fully adopt guidelines for the prevention and management of COVID-19 as part of efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic and improve the delivery of quality education among pupils in Lagos.
The Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, gave the advice at the official recognition and presentation of certificates to 14 Private schools and one Public school that successfully met all required standards and protocols to safely reopen for academic activities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic for the Y2021/22 academic calendar.
Mrs. Seriki-Ayeni advised other schools to emulate those recognised by the government for adhering to guidelines stipulated by the State Government, stressing the need for the society to adhere to all COVID-19 safety measures while the government strive to flatten the curve of the pandemic.
She explained that the government had earlier released health and safety guidelines for resumption, just as all schools were mandated to present reopening plans on distance learning, blended learning plans, health and safety protocols such as fumigation of classrooms, provision of running water and soap for handwashing among others.
Congratulating the schools, the Director-General said, “Today, we are here to recognise and celebrate the 14 private and one public school that fully adopted and successfully complied with all safety and health precautionary protocols of the Federal and State Governments”.
The Director-General disclosed that as the COVID-19 curve began to flatten and schools were preparing to resume for the First Term of 2020/21 academic session, the OEQA evaluators embarked on health and safety compliance monitoring of schools, through physical assessment, to ensure safe school reopening.
“It is part of the mandate of OEQA to ensure that schools don’t only put in place health and safety measures in the school environment for students, staff and visitors, but must compulsorily ensure compliance”, she averred.
While congratulating the 15 schools for their compliance, she advised all other schools to visit www.oeqalagos.com to download the Lagos State Government (LASG) Emergency Guidance for Public and Private Schools, Self- Assessment and Safety Checklist for Reopening of Schools, as well as LASG Child Safety and Protection among many other documents made available for the prevention and management of COVID-19 and other related unforeseen circumstances.
She reiterated the state government’s commitment to leveraging technology to drive remote learning that will aid all-inclusive e-learning with access to content modelled after the curriculum in compliance with the T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda.
Also speaking, Mrs. Olanrewaju Oniyiyan, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of W-Holistic Business Solutions, said that her organisation conducted a review prior to the resumption of the new academic calendar, disclosing that the State government also organised online training for schools on the safety and prevention of COVID-19.
Her words: “After the training, schools were requested to submit reopening plans, with 547 schools submitting. We did the data cleaning process and multiple submissions were cleared, with 454 schools extracted. The 454 schools reopening plans were critically reviewed and 54 schools were shortlisted”.
“Further quality assurance review and evaluation were done and 19 schools passed the process. Evaluation teams visited the 19 schools that qualified after the quality assurance evaluation but only 15 schools fully met the requirements and standards of the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines”, she noted.
Responding, Mrs. Lawrencia Izedonmwen, a representative of one of the recognised schools, St. Saviour’s School, Ebute Metta, appreciated the State government for the good work, reiterating the school’s readiness for further collaboration to ensure that quality education is delivered to the pupils in line with stipulated guidelines.