Private school owners, under the auspices of National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), have 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, 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 stands 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.
He also called on the federal and state governments to take over the payment of staff of private schools’ salaries within the period covered by the COVID-19 lockdown.
“The reason for this suggestion is that, in many schools, March 2020 salaries have not been paid in full or not paid at all.
“Again, second term school fees had not been completely collected before the lockdown,” he noted.
He further requested for a non-interest loan for private school owners to ensure that private schools keep running during post-lockdown era, as parents may find it challenging to meet up with their financial responsibilities as soon as schools are reopened.
NAPPS also suggested that the re-opening of schools should be in batches, starting with the terminal classes including primary 6, JSS3 and SSS3 to enable them adequately prepare for their external examinations.