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Borno state sets up machinery to reopen public schools

By Ibrahim-Gwamna Mshelizza
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Borno State Government has finally put in place machinery to get public schools in the capital town Maiduguri closed for classes over a year ago as a result of Boko Haram insurgency opened.

As part of effort to open these schools, which are now accommodating internally displaced persons (IDPs) from all parts of the state, the state governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has constituted a 13-man committee to work out the modalities for their reopening.

Primary and secondary schools were closed all over the state for over a years now with students made to lose more than a year academic session as many schools in the rural areas were either attacked or inaccessible during the peak of the expansionist drive of the Boko Haram insurgents which left 22 of the 27 local governments captured.

Though Maiduguri, the state capital was never captured by the insurgents, most primary and secondary schools in the town became home to thousands of IDPs and making it difficult for classes to hold.

There has been agitations for the reopening of the schools for sometimes now, with the state government always having to promise to get students back to schools without any concrete action.

But with the constitution of a committee to workout the modalities for the reopening of the schools, the schools are expected to be opened for classes in Maiduguri at the beginning of next academic session when the students might have lost two academic sessions.

The state government in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Usman Jidda Shuwa at the weekend said the committee is given three weeks within which to submit its report to the government, after which an action would be taken on the reopening of the schools.

The terms of reference of the committee include: identifying the total number of public schools and advice government on how best these schools could be effectively used for academic activities.

The committee is expected to take into consideration those schools currently accommodating IDPs as well as evaluate how best the internally displaced students/pupils at the camps and those staying with relatives in the host communities could appropriately be distributed to the existing public schools in the state capital.

The committee is also expected to make recommendations on how the State Universal Basic Education Board should post relevant teaching staff to secondary and primary schools in view of the existing conditions.

The committee is equally tasked with the responsibility of liaising with security agencies on provision of adequate security to the IDPs and the schools when reopened and to recommend measures that it may find necessary for the effective and smooth achievement of the set objectives.

The committee will be chaired by Alhaji Gambo Gubio and has as members other notable personalities in the state including Dr. Bulama Mali Gubio, Alhaji Haruna Idrisa Timta, Alhaji Musa Inuwa Kubo, Alhaji Abubakar Musa, Alhaji Lawan Shettima Benisheikh, Mohammed Kauji permanent secretary Ministry of Education among others.