Secondary school teachers in Oyo State refused to go to schools despite the state government order that the schools be reopened after a month of closure.
On Saturday, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, through the state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Toye Arulogun, directed that the schools should reopen on Monday, except 17 others whose pupils were involved in the demonstration against the proposed private partners’ involvement in the management of some public secondary schools in the state.
Our correspondent, who visited some public secondary schools in Ibadan on Monday, observed that although a few pupils turned up at the schools, there were no teachers in the classrooms.
Many of the pupils were seen early in the morning at various motor parks on their way to schools.
However, some parents refused to allow their children to go to school until labour leaders in the state and the state government settled their differences.
Some of them preferred to observe the situation on Monday before taking a decision to send their children back to school.
In some of the schools visited in Odo-Ona, Apata, Owode and Molete axis, some teachers were seen hanging around their schools but they did not stay long. The pupils also left before 11.30am.
One of the teachers who spoke on condition of anonymity said she came to the school to see if government would force them to sign an attendance register.
She said, “I am aware that labour leaders had directed that we stay at home. I respect that but I just came to study the situation and see if there would be any attendance register. Before now, such idea was proposed at the state secretariat to know workers who sympathise with labour against the government directive.”
Meanwhile, the state Deputy Governor, Moses Alake, who represented Ajimobi during the inauguration of a 31-member Education Reform Initiative Committee in Ibadan on Monday, said he was optimistic that the disagreement between labour and government would be resolved in a matter of days.
He noted that the decision of the government to reopen the schools was without prejudice to the workers and teachers’ strike.
Adeyemo said, “The government decided to shut the schools to prevent the pupils from being used as canon folders by labour leaders in the pursuit of a different agenda, while it reopened them in deference to appeals by well-meaning citizens of the state.
“We shut the schools to prevent our children from harm and now that the dust has settled we have reopened the schools. It is left to the members of the public to determine who is now responsible for the continued staying of our children at home.
“I seize this opportunity to enlist the cooperation of all stakeholders and members of the public in ensuring that the progress of this state, which our government advocates, effectively plans as programmed in our restoration, transformation and repositioning agenda, is realised.”
The deputy governor said the committee was formed to widen its scope of consultations on the proposed participatory management of public secondary schools in the state.
He said, “The Education Initiative Stakeholders’ Forum held on June 7, 2016 resolved, amongst other things, to widen the scope of consultation to accommodate more suggestions and models in addition to the ones presented and discussed.”