Emergency school closures are often used as public health interventions during infectious disease outbreaks to minimize the spread of infection. Governments often close schools to manage outbreaks like the recent coronavirus outbreak.
Unfortunately, recent attacks on schools and the fear of imminent attacks are forcing the government to close schools, thus deteriorating learning outcomes in the country.
Previously, more than seven states in northern Nigeria reportedly closed schools due to rising kidnappings and banditry in the region, a development that experts say could worsen the number of out-of-school children.
However, a few days ago, the federal government ordered the immediate closure of some of its Unity Colleges due to security threats. The decision was a result of the growing insecurity and threat to the life, property and well-being of the students there.
The order to close schools was given by Education Minister Adamu Adamu following a security breach in the villages of Sheda and Lambata, on the outskirts of Kwali Regional Council, which also threatened the Federal Government College (FGC), Kwali.
While some schools had urged students to leave by Wednesday July 27, 2022 at the latest, other schools sent messages to parents on Sunday asking them not to fail to pick up their children on Monday, inevitably, due to the rise. fear and anxiety emanating from reported threats.
While the measure taken to safeguard the lives of students by closing schools is paramount, its closure, experts say, can have adverse effects on children’s learning outcomes.
The new development has since halted the school’s current third term examination and the National School Certificate Examination (SSCE) by the National Examination Council (NECO), even though the government has said that would communicate to students how and when they would do it. take any exams they might miss due to the sudden cessation.
Already, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), earlier this year, sounded the alarm that Nigeria is facing a learning crisis.
The UN agency revealed that 70% of Nigerian children are going through a learning crisis, while statistics from the “2021 Nigerian Literacy Learning Crisis” revealed that 53% of 10-year-olds could neither read nor write.
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With the recent development, where schools are closed for fear of attacks, children are automatically deprived of opportunities for growth and development. Disadvantages are disproportionate for disadvantaged learners who tend to have fewer educational opportunities beyond school.
A parent from Kwali, who identified himself as Joseph, said school closures are causing high social and economic costs for people in all communities. However, their impact is particularly severe for the most vulnerable and marginalized boys and girls and their families.
“The resulting disruption exacerbates already existing disparities within the education system but also in other aspects of their lives,” he said.
Speaking to reporters when she came to collect her child from the FGC, Kwali, a mother, Mrs. Babep Peace, lamented that it was quite unfortunate that her children’s exams were disrupted, but it was better to take them back to home safely.
“It was at 4 p.m. on Sunday that one of my daughters called me through her guardians’ phone that the management asked the parents to rush to evacuate their children due to the threat of suspected bandits attacking the middle School.