News / Africa

Teachers Baffled Over Nigeria School Closures

A poster providing information on the Ebola virus is shown on the door of the Head of Department of Hospital Services, at the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja, Aug. 11, 2014.
A poster providing information on the Ebola virus is shown on the door of the Head of Department of Hospital Services, at the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja, Aug. 11, 2014.
Heather Murdock

Some education officials are baffled by the Nigerian government's decision to delay school openings nationwide in an effort to prevent the spread of Ebola. With only one current case of the disease in the country in a year where hundreds of children have been killed or kidnapped from their schoolhouses why cancel classes for Ebola?

Most Nigerian children are still on summer holiday. Schools were set to start opening next week. But officials announced Tuesday that classes wouldn’t resume until October 13 at the earliest.

Although for some education professionals the caution is welcome, the decision has angered parents.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

More than 1,400 people have died of Ebola in West Africa this year.  Only five of the victims were in Nigeria but many people are still deeply afraid that the disease could spread further.

According to Rose Kaltun, a senior member of the union that represents public school teachers in Kaduna State, the school delay was part of the Nigerian government’s well-praised rapid response to the Ebola crisis initiated in July.

“It’s very welcome and we want to appreciate them for that. We should not think it will affect the education of our children. It won’t. It will help us and it will help our children too," said Kaltun.

But some parents, like mother Ramatu Tijjani, say it makes no sense to keep schools closed.  Tijjani noted that people would still pack into churches, mosques and markets and children would be just as exposed.

“Places whereby your fellow citizens do their daily activities, but in this regard when it comes to Ebola now, government announcing that ‘Children don’t go to school’? You want them to become dumb?,” she said.

Other education professionals said keeping schools closed was unnecessary and illogical. Private school owner Murtala Mohammed said the government seems to be contradicting itself by assuring Nigerians the Ebola threat was all but passed on the same day it announced that schools would not open.

“If this is something to be taken serious the extension of school commencement of the session should not be taken on Ebola anymore,” he said.

The bigger problem Nigerian schools face, he said, was neglect and insecurity. Nigerian schools were being dragged down by lack of resources, long teacher strikes and declining attendance, he said. Boko Haram insurgents, who have killed hundreds of schoolchildren in their schoolhouses and kidnapped hundreds more have driven some parents to keep their children at home.

Conversely, he added, declining education was fueling the insurgency.

“All the crisis happening today, from the issue of kidnapping to insurgency and all of you. When you look at it, it is traceable to education. If someone is not properly educated he can not be productive and therefore he will become a nuisance to society,” said Mohammed.

Nigerian officials hope Ebola will be out of Nigeria entirely sometime in September if current efforts remain successful. However, with the disease still spreading rapidly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, officials say Ebola still threatens Nigeria and the entire region.

Ibrahima Yakubu contributed to this report from Kaduna.

You May Like

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More