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Opinions of Thursday, 20 August 2020

Columnist: Abdulmajid Bala Kangiwa

Students, why the hurry to resume?

Throughout the period of closure of schools due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there was an upsurge in demand by Nigerian students, especially undergraduates for schools to reopen.

Numerous comments by students accused the government of stalling their future and not showing enough interest in the education sector.

While the Federal Government remained adamant on its position not to reopen schools, the Academic Staff Union of Universities — ASUU didn’t seem to oppose the decision or be on the side of the students, as it urged the government not to reopen schools until 2021, threatening further not to resume even if the government reopened schools this year.

This made me ponder and ask a pertinent question “why are university students in such a hurry,” considering the that help is not forthcoming from any angle?

Neither the Federal Government nor ASUU which should be responsible for the resumption seem to be interested in it; consolidating this is the fact that the students have not proffered reasons the schools should be reopened amidst the so-called Coronavirus surge.

Apparently, a number of them only want to resume because they are extremely bored at home and are tired of doing nothing. They seem so eager and angry not to even think if it is really safe to resume while spreading some unjustified reasons that since markets and places of worship have been allowed to reopen, final year students of secondary schools allowed to resume to prepare and seat for their WAEC examinations and elections allowed to hold in Edo and Ondo States, then schools reopening was long overdue.

Personally, I find the above comparison so illogical, considering the damage it would do to the state and the entire people of Nigeria if those sectors were not allowed to function amidst the pandemic.

Just imagine yourself if markets have been closed throughout the period of the lockdown, how many people would have died of hunger; how much millions businesses and government would lose.

You could understand by applying the scenario to yourself; what would have happened to you? What would you and your family have been eating for over five months that would not have finished along the line? And what would you have done if your food finished while markets remained closed.

The final year secondary school pupils on the other hand are bound to lose a whole academic year if denied resumption to prepare and participate in this year’s WAEC examination. They would lose the opportunity to apply for admission to any of the West African universities as WAEC is one of the most vital requirements of seeking admission into the university.

They would therefore remain ineligible to get admission into any university regardless of how excellent they pass their JAMB examinations.

Unlike the university students, all the people eligible to vote in governorship elections of both Edo and Ondo states are the indigenes of those states, it therefore poses less danger than universities where students from almost all the states would resume and mingle together which would heighten the risk and exposure to the virus as some students will be coming from highly affected states.

Many students keep ‘pushing’ the issue that they want to graduate in time, I think what university students should clamour for restructuring of the system not early resumption amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lastly, for those who are bored of staying at home, I advise them to use this opportunity to add more value to their lives by learning one skill or trade and reading more books that would impact their lives. A comedian once said “Education is the key to success but not in Nigeria.”

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