…..Want schools re-open in batches
National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools in Nigeria, NAPPS, has called for financial palliative from the Federal Government to bail out the sub-sector from imminent collapse.
This was stated at a virtual press conference by the NAPPS president, Chief ‘Yomi Otubela on how COVID-19 has affected private education and way forward on Wednesday.
According to the association, the request for palliatives has become imperative given the strategic position of the sector which has not only been providing succour in meeting the educational needs of a significant member of the Nigerian learners but also employers of labour to vast members of the Nigerian populace who work as teaching and non-teaching staff.
“The year 2020 no doubt will go down as a challenging year the entire world has ever witnessed in recent with the outbreak of a nobel Corona Virus otherwise known as COVID-19.
“Nobody could have thought that the outbreak of the virus would have a lasting devastating effect on the education sector.
He added that ever since the country announced it’s lock down imposed by the order of the president to contain the further spread of Corona Virus infections, different Sectors of the country have suffered tremendously due to the impact of economic shut down brought by the pandemic.
“Education sector appears to be one of the worst hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic due to abrupt closure of schools.
It is reported at the height of the pandemic that over 1.2 billion children globally were out of school system due to the pandemic with most of them resorting to remote learning as a strategy to meet up with the educational needs of the be learners.
“In Nigeria, where private education contributes significantly to the education of the children, it has become worrisome that this vulnerable private education sub sector whose income largely depends on school fees payment but has continued to bear the pains of the continued closure of schools will be neglected from palliative programmes of the government at this critical period.
“It is therefore, in recognition of this fact that the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), which is the umbrella body for private schools owners in Nigeria with a membership that cut across all States of the federation at different fora and avenues consistently clamoured for financial palliatives from the Federal Government to bail out the sub-sector from imminent collapse.
Saying that NAPPS has a lot to offer to the country considering its large population of over 34 million school learners, the president said this is aside the over one million teaching and non-teaching staff who are working assiduously towards transforming the lives of of Nigerian students and ensuring that they are worthy in learning and in character thus complementing government’s effort at nurturing the country’s future hope.
Based on the foregoing and the need to save this sub-sector, NAPPS recently made demands to the Federal Government to support the sub-sector with educational grants, non-interest loan and suspension of interest on existing loans, suspension of taxes, dues and levies.
“Aside from the financial needs, NAPPS is also requesting Federal , State and other governmental department to desist from converting public schools facilities into markets, isolation centers among others, rather, this period should be used to focus on engaging stakeholders in education as well as health professionals to develop, safety guidelines in schools to fight the spread of e virus within the school system.
“As an association, we suggest inter alia that governments both at the national and state levels take over the payment of Private schools salaries within the period covered by the COVID-19 lock down.
NAPPS also suggests the re-opening of schools in batches starting with the terminal classes, Primary 6, JSS3 and SSS 3 to enable them to be adequately prepared for their external examinations.
“Where re-opening of schools all over the country at this time is not feasible because of Covid-19 pandemic, we suggest that schools be authorised to resume in those states with no records of positive Corona cases and in those with reduction in positive cases.
He also added that for effectiveness, the regulatory bodies should act and supervise the implementation of the safety guidelines among both public and private schools before school resumes.
“Both governments and educational stakeholders must stop squabbling and agree on a plan to get children back to school in a safe, phased return.
” It is worthy of note that the continued closure of Schools due to Covid-19 is already causing a major interruption in students’ learning process, internal assessments,, assessments for qualifications among others.
Otubela also disclosed that presently, teaching has moved online in an untested and unprecedented scale. “Also, students’ assessments are moving online with a lot of trials and errors.”
He however stated that while this could be positive development in terms of adopting and adapting technology use to face the present challenge, it should be noted that it had also posed a lot of challenges to both parents and the school in addition to inherent risks associated with it interms of exposure of learners to some negative contents.