Private school teachers have called for the Nigerian government to work towards the full reopening of schools soon.
Speaking under the auspices of the National Association of Private School Teachers (NAPST), it welcomed the decision of the Federal Government to partially reopen schools to allow the graduating students to take their final examination.
In a statement jointly signed by its National Chairman, Akhigbe Olumhense and National Secretary, Habiba Obagah on Friday, it said, “This is a very good step as it will prepare the ground for the quick resumption of schools across the country.”
“We commend wholeheartedly the effort by the Education Ministry to do the needful for the children of Nigeria. What we must do, is to find a way to live and carry out our daily activities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe way.”
It also disagreed with the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), which had earlier warned against reopening schools.
In its words, “We do not agree with the NUT who feel that the school should remain closed forever provided they are paid their monthly salary, forgetting that no matter how long we stay at home, eventually, we shall all come out to face the pandemic and live around the new normal.
“What responsible governments around the world are doing is finding safe way of opening the schools, by putting in place guidelines that will make sure the school environment is safe. Once that is done schools should be able to return across board.
The NAPST leadership also urged the Federal Government to pay private school teachers monthly stipends to help them feed and sustain their families pending when schools will finally reopened.
“The Private school teachers are tax payers, tax deductions are done at the source before salaries are paid, but since March majority of private school teachers have not been paid anything, how will they take care of their families and pay their bills. It is completely wrong for private schools teachers to be neglected at such a time, despite the immense contribution done by private school teachers to the development of the children of Nigeria.”
It volunteered to supply the data of private school teachers.
“We can provide from our database the details of Private School Teachers to government, so that monthly financial support can be given to the teachers as it is done in Brazil and other climes. We know that the government will not be happy to know that its citizens go to bed without food each day and with no hope in sight.”