High pregnancy rate among students rattles Kwara

PARENTS in Kwara State have expressed worry over the rate of pregnancy among students in the state following prolonged closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The parents, who spoke during a protest along with, teachers and proprietors of private schools in Ilorin, the state capital, on Friday, noted that the continued closure of schools by the state government over coronavirus was a major causative factor of this.

One of the protesters claimed that many of their students had been impregnated during the long break and said the continued closure of schools by the Kwara State government was becoming worrisome.

The people had displayed placards with messages such as “Kwara school proprietors call for immediate school reopening”; “Mr President, tell Kwara governor to reopen our schools now”; “Schools in other states are open, why not Kwara?”

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They said the long closure of schools had “ruined the lives of many of their wards, saying that some of the female ones had been impregnated.

“The over five months holiday occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic has caused lots of atrocities of different dimensions among the students. Many of the female students are already pregnant due to idleness, while their male folks have been badly influenced by ills in the society,” one of the parents said.

The protesters, who included members of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), accused the state government of deliberate plan to ‘kill’ private schools by what they claimed were stringent reopening protocols and conditions the state asked them to put in place.

The angry protesters said the continued closure of schools had worsened their socio-economic life, adding that they now lived at the mercy of family members and friends.

Addressing the protesters, state chairman of the NAPPS, Dr Rahaman Lateef, said the association was not folding its arms, adding that it had held series of negotiations with the state government on safe reopening of schools and teachers’ welfare.

Dr Lateef also said that “NAPPS, as the representative of private schools in the state, has engaged the government and I am glad to tell you that the ministry of education has designed two school calendars and submitted same to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and anytime from now the governor would announce the reopening of schools in the state.”

The NAPPS boss advised the state government, saying “it is for it to announce the likely date of resumption so that our schools in the state would heighten their preparation for resumption.

“The state government should as a matter of urgency, consider the plight of teachers in private schools by reopening the schools immediately, because their lives have been turned upside down in the last six months of inactivity, lack of jobs and salaries.

“Thirdly, COVID-19 should no longer be an excuse for the delayed reopening of schools as it has come to stay and people must learn to live with it. Thank God the SSS III students wrote their examinations without a spike in COVID-19 infections.

“Government should extend COVID-19 safety kits to private school children as we are nurturing Nigerian children whose parents have paid their taxes to the government”, he said.

He assured the protesters that he would communicate their grievances to the Commissioner for Education for onward transmission to the governor.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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