By Adesina Wahab
PRIVATE school owners, under the auspices of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, NAPPS, have cried out that the coronavirus pandemic is threatening their means of livelihood and have, therefore, called on the government to come to their aid.
The Lagos State President of NAPPS, Chief Amusa Olawale, who spoke on behalf of members in a chat with Vanguard in Lagos, also called on the government to extend a lifeline to his members, saying they deserved to benefit from the dividends of democracy.
Olawale noted that school owners could no longer make money as schools are shut down, adding that most of his members have huge sums of money being owed them by parents and guardians of pupils and students in their schools.
While calling on the government to give tax holiday to his members since schools are on COVID-19-induced holiday, he said: “The NAPPS, being a partner in progress in this sector, has virtually been neglected. As a body, we have severally and collectively appealed to government to do an over-all review of the administration of schools, so that proprietors and teachers alike will share in the dividends of democracy which as at now is only being enjoyed by government schools. Among others, we had in our previous memo to government solicited for assistance in the following areas:
“Proactiveness in the management of COVID-19 pandemic palliatives aimed at cushioning the effect of the lock-down on the citizens, our teachers inclusive. This will no doubt enhance total benefit to the teachers and parents. Since private schools and staff receive salary from school fees, apparently a lull in this sector at this time is imminent as parents withheld the payment of their wards’ outstanding school fees.
“Request for PAYE tax holidays since staff and schools are on compulsory COVID-19 holiday. Suspension of all levies and dues that are imposed by local governments and other agencies of government. Technical and financial support to private schools with the implementation of e-Learning to sustain the learning of our children during the lock-down and beyond.
“Access to single digit and long term loan facilities from both government established financial Institutions and Industries. Subsidise the cost of preventive items and machines that are needed in schools; smart disinfection tunnel, Infrared Thermometer, Soap Dispenser, etc.” Olawale said the private school sector’s contributions to the growth of the education sector were too important to be neglected by the government.
The NAPPS boss, while congratulating Nigerian children on the celebration of this year’s Children Day, urged them not to allow their spirit to be dampened by the current development in the sector which has seen them staying at home for months now.
“I wish to reflect most seriously on the lessons of the pandemic as children all over the world celebrate. It would be recalled that the virus caught the whole world napping. In this era that our leaders have not been providing the necessary amenities and have equally failed to do their bit in making the world a better place. There is no gain-saying that the lack-lustre performance of most of our leaders in all its ramification has in no small measure contributed to the wide spread of the novel virus.
“Hygiene, an aspect of human life which was very sacrosanct then, has been totally ignored. Even the era of digital technology seems to have no solution to the novel pandemic. The education sector itself is totally handicapped in its quest to find solution to the challenges which in the first place should have been the prerogative of this sector.
“It is on this note that the education sector has a big role to play. ”
Sad to say that the school whose role is to lead this crusade has woefully failed as the noble teaching profession has become most unattractive for teachers in private schools. The goodies inherent inthe sector are no longer being enjoyed by private school owners. They treat the sector as if proprietors, parents and teachers of private schools are not tax payers. They are only interested in collecting revenue from us, neglecting children from private schools who are also leaders of tomorrow as if they have another country for them,” he said.