Chairman of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) in Delta state, Monday Ifoghere, has commended the federal government over the plan to resume classes for primary 6, Junior Secondary 3 and Senior Secondary 3 so as to prepare for their final year examinations.
The Delta state NAPPS chairman said the decision was a welcome development saying it is an indication that the school system shall soon come out of the lockdown. His reaction is coming on the heels of repeated calls by private school owners in Nigeria that the federal government should lift ban on schools so that learning will begin.
The commendation of the private owners may not be unconnected with the fact that the source of livelihood for private school owners is from the school fees they collect from school children on a termly basis and for the period the schools have been shut down since March till June, many of them have been finding it difficult to feed and take care of their family needs.
Ifoghere had earlier said that “some of us have been going borrowing that when schools resume we pay back. Some of our people are buying things on credit. Some of us who are married and their spouses are in other employments, are now relying on them for their survival, otherwise it’s not funny at all.
“Most teachers are starving. In fact, as we resume, we may start looking for new teachers because many of them have silently resigned from the work. Some are already petty traders while others have gone into farming. Private schools are not paying when the whole place is on lockdown.”
Asking a question on the preparedness of his members to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols in schools, he said: “Yes of course. Especially with NAPPS, we have taken time to train our members on how to break the chains of COVID-19 infection, how to handle the personal protective equipment (PPE) and how to manage a suspected infested person.
“We have also ordered for some of the sanitary wares like inferred thermometer, Handwashing materials, sanitizers and face shields / masks. Our schools have also set aside a room within the school for possible isolation of any suspected case. Most of our members have sick bay and stand by nurse/ caregivers to handle the children. In a nutshell, most of our schools are prepared and ready for the reopening.”
But the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) is not willing to allow its members to resume school in Nigeria.
According to PUNCH, the NUT general secretary, Mike Ene, said government has not shown seriousness with its directive. According to him, no teacher is ready to go to school because they don’t want to die.
“I don’t know who is going to use his own child as a guinea pig. It is only those who are alive that can speak of keeping hope alive. How can we resume? Does anybody want to die?” he argued that if government is serious with the resumption of schools, the government necessary materials for the teachers.
“The NUT is saying that the government has not assured us properly to go back to school. Has the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) moved round to make sure that the isolation centres are provided in schools? What measures have they told us have been provided for teachers to come back?
“We are being taken for granted. Teachers are parents and human beings too and their children don’t want to lose them out of carelessness. We are ready. We are not afraid to teach. But government has not shown commitment for us to go back to school. All what the government is doing is mere politics.”