From Aloysius Attah and Jeff Agbodo, Onitsha
Private school proprietors in Anambra State have rejected the further extension of school resumption date as announced by Governor Willie Obiano last Tuesday.
The Anambra State chapter of the United Independent Proprietors of Private Schools Association of Nigeria complained that such plans by the state government would not only cripple the educations sector in the state but has already exposed school children to unimaginable dangers.
The president of the group, Apostle Akawor Success, who led over 1,000 other school proprietors in a solidarity prayer match at Royal Ambassador School, Onitsha, on Thursday, said schools are not the cause and centre of COVID-19 spread and should not be portrayed as such.
He said government neglected private schools during last year’s pandemic lockdown which affected the academic programmes of the children, despite private schools in the state having put in place all necessary COVID-19 precautions and protocols.
He said that since COVID-19 can be prevented through certain measures, the government should ensure that such measures are maintained in schools while supervisors would visit schools to enforce compliance instead of the indefinite shutting down of schools.
‘Private school teachers are not paid while staying at home but government school teachers are paid whether there is lockdown or not. Government doesn’t care about the private school and school owners with regards to their welfare, children and family concerns. Private school owners lost their teachers in the last COVID-19 lockdown because they engaged themselves in trading to take care of their families.
‘The safest place for children to be in this pandemic is the schools. Private school owners are true managers of the education sector. They should not be put out of existence because of COVID-19. Our future leaders must be saved and it should be now. We are ready and demand that schools must be reopened by the stipulated date of 18th January, 2021,’ the group declared.
Governor Willie Obiano had on Tuesday announced February 1 as the new resumption date for schools in the state instead of the earlier scheduled date of Monday, January 18. The governor said the new date was to allow principals and proprietors take adequate measures against the second wave of COVID-19.