The Kwara State Government has ordered reopening of 10 affected public schools shut in February for refusing Muslim students to wear hijab.
But late Tuesday night, the state government announced the reopening of the schools from Wednesday March 17, 2021.
The schools are C&S College, ST. Anthony College, ECWA School, Surulere Baptist Secondary School, Bishop Smith Secondary School, CAC Secondary School, St. Barnabas Secondary School, St. John School, St. Williams Secondary School and St. James Secondary School.
A statement issued by Mrs Mary Kemi Adeosun, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, said the government was convinced that its policy to allow willing Muslim schoolgirls to wear their hijab in public schools would lead to sustainable peace and communal harmony anchored on mutual respect and understanding.
“This path to mutual respect, understanding, and peace with regards to hijab had long been adopted in all of the northern Nigeria and many states in the Southwest such as Lagos, Osun, Ekiti, and Oyo States.
“As the students resume normal classes, the government took special notice of the plight of those of them preparing for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination and hereby directs affected schools to hold at least two-hour extra lesson for all the intending candidates after school hours daily.
“The government will provide light lunch for the students until the beginning of their exams while teachers allotted for the extra coaching will get stipends for their efforts.
“This is to bring the students up to speed ahead of the impending external examination. The closure of the schools was necessary to forestall security breaches which may affect lives and properties,” the government said.
The statement said the government sincerely commended the Christian and Muslim leaders for their understandings and their efforts to build peace within their respective communities in the past weeks.
It urged everyone to join hands with the government to raise a generation of schoolchildren who would respect one another’s differences and together build a sustainable future for our state.
“Finally, the government reminds all its employees such as school principals and teachers in the affected schools to take special note of the policy. There will be zero tolerance for violations of anyone’s fundamental human rights under their watch,” the government said.
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