By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – An Educationist, Abdul-Ganiyu, Raji, has called on Governments at all levels to extend financial supports to private schools, to mitigate the biting effect of COVID-19 lockdown.
In a statement made available to the media in Kaduna on Monday, June 1, 2020, Raji said
it would be callous of the Government to wait for owners and teachers of private schools to start dying of starvation before it comes to their aid, saying something should be done now.
According to the statement, the nation cannot afford to sustain this prejudicial culture of silence over the huge impact of this lockdown on the livelihoods of school owners and private school teachers.
The statement reads, “We cannot afford to keep ignoring the welfare of private schools. We must remember that private schools survive primarily on earnings from their customers.
“We all know that schools have not collected third term fees from their customers. We are aware that all the sources of income of private schools have been blocked by the current lockdown. The Government should please do something about private schools.
“For more than two months now, schools in the whole federation have been under lock and key in compliance with the lockdown order imposed by the Federal Government to flatten the curve of the novel Coronavirus which has defied all known remedies.
“The Government is commended for this bold step which is aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus. We have to stay at home to be safe and to be alive. Different countries of the world have also taken diverse measures to forestall the further spread of the highly infectious virus.
“Many countries have also locked up their schools as a precautionary measure against COVID-19. So, Nigeria is not the only country that has shut down schools.
“No right-thinking Nigerian will criticize the Government for the current closure of schools in the country.
“We cannot afford to endanger the lives of our children or the lives of their teachers and other individuals who work in schools. However, while this lockdown lasts, is anybody talking about how school owners are coping with the salaries of their workforce at this difficult time? Is anybody discussing how school owners themselves are surviving and helping their family members survive during this lockdown?
“In Lagos where I live, schools were shut down as far back as March. As I write this article, we are almost at the end of May. Are we aware that some school owners have not paid March and April salaries?
“You can now imagine what will happen when payment of May salaries is due. Some private schools slashed their staff’s salaries as far back as March. When schools were first shut down, many school owners and teachers had predicted that the closure would only last for a few days or weeks.
“It has now dawned on everyone that the current race is not a sprint, it is a marathon. Nobody can even prognosticate when schools will reopen in this country.”