COVID-19: Private school owners run to government for aid as lockdown take its toll

Meanwhile public school staff obviously have no such worries.

Monday, May 25, 2020

/ by National Pivot
Primary school pupils in class/Image sourced from Eremmel
COVID-19 pandemic has not only disrupted the 2020 academic sessions, it has also heavily impacted private schools in the country which unlike public schools, does not rely on government financing for its survival.

This very reality has led the Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON) to appeal to the federal government to assist its members in facilitating a revolving loan scheme at “highly reduced single rate with at least five-year interest free moratorium”.

APSON also requested for stimulus package for private schools teachers to enable them and their immediate families survive the economic hardship in the post COVID-19 era.

This was contained in a letter addressed to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and jointly signed by the association’s president, Dr. Godly E. Opukeme; National Secretary, Alh. Abdur-rahman Marafa; and National Director of administration, Bishop Emmanuel Elakhe.

It said the plights of teachers in private schools, comprising secondary, primary and kindergarten, have been worsen by the inability of most proprietors to meet their financial obligations.

“Private teachers unlike their counterparts in public sector, who enjoy seamless allowances and monthly emoluments, have been subjected to public ridicule arising from the failure to pick up accumulated bills since the outbreak of the pandemic in February 2020,” it said.

APSON noted that if the stimulus package request was considered and approved, it will help them to overcome the challenges as well as keeping their teachers in business, pay annual renewal fees, dues, rates and rent.

The association said the appeal became necessary in view of the disruptions and redundancies caused “by the coronavirus pandemic and indefinite closure of non-essential businesses, including private and public schools.

“Proprietors of private school owners are the second largest employer of labour in Nigeria’s private sector and we remain irrevocably committed to the Nigerian project,” it said.

Last week, private school owners, under the auspices of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), called for provision of educational grants by the federal government to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic and to bail out the sub-sector from imminent collapse.

The NAPPS President, Chief Yomi Otubela, who gave an analysis of the impact of the pandemic on private education on Wednesday 20 May,2020, emphasised that the financial palliatives from the federal government will enable private schools to meet monthly obligations to their staff and remain afloat.

Making a case for the sub-sector, Otubela pointed out that the number of private schools in the country stood at 83,524 with 34,614,169 learners and 1.143 million teaching and non-teaching staff.

The over one million teaching and non-teaching staff, he said, work assiduously towards transforming the lives of the Nigerian children, pay taxes to the government and undertake other civic responsibilities in the country.

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