COVID-19: Over 100,000 teachers can’t feed their families ― NAPST
• says private schools ready for reopening
The leadership of National Association of Private School Teachers (NAPST), has said that more 100,000 teachers in private schools are unable to feed their families and cannot pay their basic bills as a result of the closure of schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
NAPST President, Comrade Akhigbe Olumhense, who addressed newsmen on Thursday in Abuja, appealed to both Federal and State Governments as well as public-spirited individuals to assuage the plight of the private school teachers in the country.
Olumhense, however, noted that while the private schools in Nigeria were ready for reopening, the public schools appeared not to be ready for reopening soon.
He said: “Sadly, the outbreak of COVID-19 has greatly compounded the plight of the private school teachers in Nigeria across the states.
A good number of the private school teachers were last paid in February 2020,”.
He said the closure of schools for the whole of the third term of 2019/2020 academic session means no tuition payment and obviously salaries for the months running would not be paid also, adding families were both husband and wife are teaching in private schools.
“Private school teachers are facing difficult times currently with no hope in sight as of when the lockdown on schools will be lifted,” he said.
Olumhense disclosed that a list of 10,300 private school teachers has been submitted to the Federal Ministry of Education following engagement with the Ministry and eventual request for the account details of the affected NAPST members for Federal Government’s palliatives to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He noted what the teachers were asking was the payment of monthly stipend to the members projected to be more than 100,000.
“We are soliciting the prompt response from the government so that our members can smile again. We want it treated with the urgency it deserves.
“The states and the Federal Government have not considered private school teachers as a group that deserves palliatives whereas they are in the group of vulnerable Nigerians,” he said.
He said: “NAPST has decided to engage the Federal Government through the Economic Sustainability Committee on the need to support private school teachers to cushion the effect of COVID – 19 pandemic on us.
“NAPST is equally appreciative of single-digit loan approved by Federal Government through CBN N5O billion COVID -19 intervention funds.
“But most school owners will not like to access loan to pay salaries, hence the reason many private school teachers are still suffering.
“NAPST also appreciates the efforts of the Federal government to ensure the safe phased reopening of schools and for the release of N2.3 trillion stimulus package to support teachers’ salary and CBN N5O Billion single digits intervention loan to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But the best way to help the private school teacher is by directly paying into their accounts,” he said.