By Amos Aar, Makurdi

AS part of measures to ensure the safety of both school children and their teachers, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), in collaboration with Benue State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has organised a two-day workshop on Covid-19 for head teachers and principals of junior secondary schools in the 23 local government areas across the State preparatory to the reopening of schools.

Benue state Commissioner for Education, Professor Denis Ityavyar, while addressing participants last week at Mount Saint Gabriel’s Secondary School, Makurdi, venue for schools in Benue North-West Senatorial District, said the training was for school administrators in the basic education subsector to highlight the critical importance of good hygiene practices to curtail the spread of the virus.

Represented by Martins Idoko, Director of Special and Primary Education in the Ministry, Prof. Ityavyar expressed determination and optimism that SUBEB will continue to introduce programmes and activities that will boost enrollment, effective curriculum delivery and provision of infrastructure and urged teachers to strictly adhere to the guidelines on partial reopening of schools to reduce the tide of Covid-19.

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On his part, Executive Chairman, SUBEB, Comrade Joseph Utse, restated his resolve to revive the cherished image of public primary schools and solicited partnership from various communities to achieve the set objectives. He added that the workshop was aimed at enhancing public enlightenment campaign among school administrators and learners so as to strengthen the advocacy on physical distancing and other preventive measures.

He disclosed that about 2,235 head teachers and principals of junior secondary schools were selected from the 3 senatorial districts of the state with 714 coming from Benue North-East, 806 from Benue North-West and 714 from Benue South.

Utse appealed to resource persons to organise similar workshops especially on the proper way of hand washing with soap under running water, and how to sneeze or cough properly into the elbow, among other established hygiene protocols. He thanked Governor Samuel Ortom and UBEC as well as other development partners for their interest and continued financial assistance to SUBEB.

In her comment, the State Coordinator of UBEC, Mrs Augustina Sanchi, said the commission was concerned about the safety of both teachers and children as regards Covid-19 and decided to support Benue SUBEB for the training while the consultant, La Tovez Limited, Abuja represented by Mr Lawrence Abozwar promised to do a thorough job for the interest of Benue teachers and children.

Permanent member 1 at SUBEB, Mr Mike Kusah, and Director of Academic Services, Mrs Regina Nyitar, in their separate comments expressed gratitude to all those who contributed to the  success of the exercise.

In a related development, SUBEB on Tuesday received Toyota Hilux Van procured from UBEC/Benue State Government Intervention fund for the year 2018/2019.

Toyota Hilux procured from UBEC/Benue State Government Intervention Fund

The UBEC State Coordinator, Mrs Augustina Sanchi during the presentation at the Board’s headquarters acclaimed the turn of events at SUBEB that paved the way for the procurement of a Hilux vehicle for quality assurance activities using the matching grant. She expressed optimism that monitoring of schools in Benue will be strengthened with the availability of the vehicle for that purpose. According to Mrs Sanchi, the gesture was timely as arrangements were being made to reopen schools, adding that it will enhance school evaluation and monitoring.

Executive Chairman, SUBEB, Comrade Joseph Utse, in a remark explained that the vehicle was procured through the collaboration between UBEC/Benue State Government Intervention fund, using the 2018/2019 matching grant for the purpose of quality assurance activities. He commended the efforts of Governor Ortom and UBEC for prompt release of funds for matching grant to ensure steady and timely execution of Basic Education Projects.

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