National Association of Private School Teachers (NAPST), have called on government and good spirited individuals to urgently come to the aid of Private School Teachers who are presently passing through excruciating pains and sufferings as a result of the closure of schools, arising from the Covid-19 Pandemic.
NAPST President, Akhigbe Olumhense Akigbe made the call in Abuja on Thursday, while briefing newsmen on their current status.
He said; “We appreciate the efforts of both the Federal Government and various state governments in their bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country. Recall that before the lockdown announced by the President in his first broadcast to the nation on Sunday 29th March 2020, private and public schools in the country had since been closed.
“Ever since that closure, our members across Nigeria have not been paid their monthly salaries because the schools are closed. NAPST at the National & state levels has decided to engage the Federal Government and state governments respectively on how to assist the private school teachers across the country with monthly stipends, while urging government to help by quickly putting in place safety protocols for speedy resumption of schools.”
He maintained that despite the outstanding contributions of private school teachers in Nigeria to the nation’s education sector, they work without gratuity, complete absence of job security, none or irregular remittance of pension deductions; and they are exposed to all sorts of unfavourable conditions of service but yet to receive the due attention they deserve as professionals in the education sector.
“Sadly, the outbreak of Covid-19 Pandemic 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. The closure of schools for the whole of third term of 2019/2020 academic session means no tuition payment and obviously salaries for the months running will not be paid also. Private school teachers are facing difficult times currently with no hope in sight as of when the lockdown on schools will be lifted. 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.
“Things are getting really bad and unbearable with private school teacher across the state of the federation. In reality, over 100,000 families of private school teachers most especially where both husband and wife are private school teachers, they are unable to feed their families and cannot pay their basic bills as a result of COVID-19 lockdown.
Olumhense further said the association has written to the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs to ask for palliatives and monthly support for our members, pending when the schools will be allowed to open. We commend the Ministry of Education for engaging with us based on our request and eventually asking for the account details of our affected members, we have submitted the list of Ten thousand, three hundred private school teachers with their account details to the Ministry of Education.
They also expressed gratitude over the single digit loan approved by Federal Government through CBN N50 billion COVID-19 intervention funds but urged government to give to individual teachers as most school owners will not like to access loan to pay salaries, hence the reason many private school teacher are still suffering.
He continued; “Government should make available an annual support fund for the private school sector to help the growth and development of teachers. Private school teachers deserves to be provided with affordable housing programme, pension and gratuity, interest free loans, and other welfare programmes to uplift the morale of the teachers. Even though we are in the private sector, we render a public service and government must treat us based on what we do to shape the future of Nigerian children. Government cannot and should not abandon us to our fate; we urgently need help from all Nigerians.”
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