Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education has clarified claims on social media platforms that the federal government intended to pay salaries of private school teachers during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations of the ministry, Mr Ben Goong, declared the reports as fake.
In an interview with Nigeria Info, Goong stated that even if there were such plans, no one knows the precise wage bill of private school teachers in Nigeria.
In his words, “the sheer number of private schools in the country will tell you that it is unrealistic. It would take about half of the nation’s budget to pay these salaries. In fact, nobody can tell you precisely the wage bill of teachers in private schools across Nigeria. It is fake news”.
Recall that the National President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Yomi Otubela had been widely quoted to have said that the government was taking over the payments.
EduCeleb.com however reported last Monday that Mr Otubela revealed that private schools have been granted access to benefit from COVID-19 intervention funds.
In Otubela’s words, “NAPPS, at the beginning of the lockdown, had written to the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Committee, headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, requesting that the FG takes over payment of salaries of teachers in private schools for the period of the lockdown. We also asked for non-interest loans or single digit interest with a 10 year repayment plan.”
He stated that he is confident that the FG is already working on this.
The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, at a briefing of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 earlier refuted claims that the FG would pay salaries of teachers in private schools.
According to Nwajiuba, “the CBN window is available for them to exploit and really any assistance we can give to them we will like to give them, but it is important to clarify that we are not taking over the payment of their salaries”.
Goong, corroborated the Minister’s statement.
He added that if the CBN would provide such support to private schools, they would require data from the ministry.
According to him, “the CBN does not know the number of private schools in Nigeria- from kindergarten to higher institutions. Even NAPPS does not know the number of private schools in Nigeria. Most of the private schools in the country are not registered with the association. The CBN has not asked the ministry for any data. It is fake news”.