Private Schools Proprietors in Akwa Ibom State disagreed with the state government on COVID-19 guidelines for reopening of schools in the state, describing such guidelines as problematic and tough to comply with.
Hon. Udofia Davies, Chairman, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools ( NAPPS), Akwa Ibom State Chapter, in an interview with newsmen on Sunday listed 12 conditions released by the state government to include procurement of temperature Testing Machines in all the schools, preparation of Isolation centres , fumigation of school premises, provision of hand sanitizers among others.
He recalled that schools were closed in March on the eve of the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic as the pupils and students were sent home wondering who contaminated the school compounds before it could be fumigated for reopening.
His words, “We have been at home for four months now unlike the public schools that whether they go to work or not the government pays them. .”
“We have not gotten money for 4 months now and it becomes very difficult for most of the teachers. And we are not afraid to say that by the time we resume we must have lost some of our best hands in private schools”
Udofia expressed fear that most of the private schools cannot reopen their schools as the conditions require money to put certain things in place as demanded by government.
” With what is happening now, we are afraid whether it would be possible for most private schools to reopen. This is because we need to put a lot of things in place.”
“Yesterday, when we were in a stakeholders meeting with the Commissioner for Education, we were asked to do so many things. One of those was to get temperature testing machines at the entrance of the schools before resumption. Where do we have money to buy those things? ”
“Again we are asked to fumigate our schools, where is the money? Remember we have been closed for 4 months now.”
He also complained about -taxation against private schools and urged governor Emmanuel to extend the COVID-19 tax holiday to private schools in the state.
He pleaded, “Right now, private schools are paying multiple taxes. We pay for renewal of operational licenses yearly, private Polytechnics and universities don’t renew their license annually. But for private Nursery, Primary and Secondary schools, we renew every year. We pay to the Ministry of Education, Internal Revenue Service, Sanitation Agency, PAYEE, Ministry of Environment, Local government and even stickers for our buses. Please tell Governor Udom Emmanuel to help us.”
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