After six months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Ministry of Education asked for schools to reopen and Borno, Adamawa and Yobe (BAY) states published their revised school calendar from October to December 2020. Ahead of schools reopening, the Education Sector emphasized the need to implement risk mitigation measures to ensure the safety of pupils including of displaced children across camps and host communities. The Sector identified priority needs and actions, such as fumigating and disinfecting classrooms and Temporary Learning Spaces (TLS), training teachers on risk mitigation measures, and providing appropriate WASH facilities in every school to minimize risks. The need for a simple document that provides guidelines or a checklist to help governments safely reopen schools was also highlighted.
In September, the Education Sector also discussed the need to harmonize the methodology used to count children reached through radio or remote learning. Government and non-governmental actors each have their respective methodologies which create challenges for data management and analysis.
In September, the Sector organized several meetings with the Education Cannot Wait (ECW) global fund to prepare a multi-year resilience programme (MYRP) for Nigeria. A consultant was recruited and is now working with the Education in Emergencies Working Group (EiEWG) secretariat and ECW advisors to develop the MYRP proposal.
On the International Day to Protect Education from Attack (9 September), EiEWG and partners organised various activities throughout the BAY states between 7-10 September, to which participated children, community members, state legislators, military and other government actors. A global webinar brought different stakeholders together, including the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education (FMoE), and Education Sector partners. A joint press statement from the Ministers of Education, Defence and Humanitarian Affairs reiterating commitment to protect education from attacks was also issued.
In September, EIEWG also facilitated engagements with National NGOs and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Borno State to discuss localization and ways to further protect education from attacks.
The Sector developed an agreed methodology to estimate the number of learners reached through radio lessons aired by local radio stations across the BAY states. The process also allowed Sector partners to identify learners who need access to radio devices.
In September, lack of funding prevented Sector partners from covering all targeted LGAs with radio education programmes. Additional funds would allow more children to benefit from remote education programmes.
The Sector is working closely with the Education ministries across the BAY states to develop practical school calendars that include TLS in IDP camps and to ensure presence of teachers in all schools to be re-opened.
Funding shortfall is hindering partners’ support towards a safe school reopening, whereas the disinfection and fumigation of over 500 schools and installation of hand washing facilities to mitigate risk of COVID-19 are urgently needed.
The guidelines for safe school reopening need to be contextualized and simplified at the state and community levels so that headteachers and school managers can use them to ensure monitoring and compliance with safety measures across schools and TLS. The Sector is planning to support State Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs) on the contextualization of this technical tool in the coming weeks.