Many pupils in Oyo State yesterday returned home after finding their school gates shut. The pupils went to school following the weekend announcement by the state government.

They were forced to return home because there were no teachers or non-teaching staff to attend to them. The development came on a day the government constituted an Education Reform Initiative Committee to tackle the crisis.

Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology Prof.  Adeniyi Olowofela inspected public secondary schools to monitor the reopening. The commissioner visited  Queens School, Government College, Ibadan and Apata Community Senior Grammar School.

Addressing some pupils, Olowofela said the schools were closed because of the unruly behaviour of some pupils, who destroyed government property. He debunked rumours that the proposed policy direction on education was aimed at privatising secondary schools.

The commissioner advised the pupils to take their studies serious. Olowofela assured them that the imbroglio between the government and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) would be resolved, urging pupils to desist from thuggery, hooliganism, and other  that can jeopardise their future.

The Assistant State Secretary of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) Mr. Abiodun Oyediran told The Nation that teachers could not resume when the strike declared by the NLC on June 6 was still in effect. He said the NLC held a congress yesterday, reaffirming the strike until the national leadership of the NLC directed otherwise.

“Maybe government had to reopen the schools because it closed them in the first place. Until the issues in contention are resolved, teachers can’t go back to class. We can’t teach with empty stomach,” he said.

Commissioner for Information Toye Arulogun, last Friday, at a news conference in Ibadan, said the decision to re-open the schools was reached after representatives of stakeholders met with the government.

The commissioner noted that the 17 schools that had been identified as participants in last month’s protest would remain shut until their management obtain an apology from the pupils  that they would not e ngage in such demonstrations.

Governor Abiola Ajimobi announced the constitution of the Education Reform Initiative Committee while addressing reporters at the Exco Chambers, Agodi, Secretariat, Ibadan.

The committee, he said, would comprise 31 members. Ajimobi, who was represented by his deputy, Otunba Moses Alake-Adeyemo, listed the members: Education expert (Chairman), University of Ibadan (Nominee Member), National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria (two members), Nigeria Labour Congress and Nigeria Union of Teachers (two members), All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (two members), National Association of Nigerian Student (two members), Market Advisory Council (two members).

Others include: Christian Association of Nigeria (two members), Muslim Community of Oyo State (two members), community leaders (two members), private sector education practitioners (two members), traditional (two members), Commissioner for Education (two members), Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, civil/public servants (three members), Commissioner for Justice, Commissioner for Information, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Nigeria Union of Journalists (one member) and a secretary to be provided by the Ministry of Education.

Also, following the strike by workers, a 14-man committee set up by the government after a reconciliatory meeting of government and labour leaders will be inaugurated tomorrow at the executive chambers secretariat.

The committee will include seven members each from government and labour union to resolve the impasse.








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