Owners and teachers of private schools in Nigeria are bearing the brunt of the lethal coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. The COVID-19 pandemic is telling seriously on that sector as one of most affected in the Nigeria economy.
The reason is that operators, teachers and all staff working in private schools, whether big or small, depend entirely on school fees from the students as there is no other source of funding for the system is available to them.
For the public school teachers and tertiary institutions owned by governments, there is no cause for alarm as their alerts will continue to land until the pandemic is over. But this is not so with the private school owners and teachers.
The schools were forced to go on compulsory vacation towards the tail end of March, with some hastily writing second term examination and sending the children home following the entrance of the virus into Nigeria on February 27, 2020. From the index case till now the country has been battling the pandemic on all fronts.
Ordinarily, the schools were expected to resume on April 6 to begin the third term classes. But the pandemic has disrupted the system for the schools. Even higher institutions cannot resume because the higher schools are even more susceptible to infections than the primary and secondary schools in Nigeria.
Students of higher institutions are from different states of the nation. Some are from the high risk states while others are from the low risk states. If they are allowed to resume, it will be disastrous as the community spread of the virus will be unquantifiable.
It will be spread in the classrooms, in the hostels and the dormitories, in the libraries and the laboratories where various practicals are carried out by the students. Imagine students from Lagos, Edo, Kano, Abuja, Ogun, Osun and other states coming together at the University of Port Harcourt or University of Abuja, it will be massive. This is why the federal government will find it hard to allow tertiary institutions to go back to the classes.
For the government primary and secondary schools, there is no cause for alarm. The salary will continue to be paid amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Some of them may even be involved in other businesses while the COVID-19 lasts.
The group that has the greatest heat are private school owners and teachers. Most of them have stopped paying salaries because there is no more money coming into the coffers of the school accounts. They usually have no aid from the government. Rather they pay tax yearly to the government of their different states.
Manty are confused as to how to feed their families and attend to other needs of their homes. But the federal government is unwilling to heed their cry following the continuous increase of the confirmed cases across the country.
The last report of the coronavirus figure in Nigeria is 9302 confirmed cases in the country with 2697 discharged and 261 recorded deaths. The government was of the view that by now the number must have reduced but rather than reducing the graph keeps rising on daily basis.
For now, there is no tentative date for school resumption. Dates being given cannot stand.