COVID-19: Private Sch Teachers cries out, seeks FG interventions

By Oluwaseun Sonde

The National Association of Private School Teachers (NAPST), has solicited for Federal Government and philanthropic interventions for members who are passing through excruciating pains and sufferings as a result of the closure of schools, which led to non payment of salaries and other entitlements due to COVID-19 pandemic.

NAPST President, Akhigbe Augustine, who addressed a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, disclosed that since the closure of schools in March, private school teachers have not been paid salary which make things get really bad and unbearable for them financially due to the prolongment.

According to the President, “A good number of private school teachers were last paid in February. The closure of schools for the whole of third term of 2019/2020 academic session means that no tuition payment, and obviously, salaries for months running will not be paid.

“Obviously, private school teachers are facing difficult times with no hope in sight as of when the lockdown on schools will be lifted. Federal and State Government not considered private school teachers as group that deserves palliatives whereas they are in the group of vulnerable Nigerians”, he said.

He emphasized that over 100,000 Private School teacher’s families, most especially where both husband and wife are private school teachers, are unable to feed their families and cannot pay basic bills. Private schools in Nigeria do not receive government subventions.

“They rely solely on tuition payments. More often than not, salaries are not paid as at when due. Hence, apart from underpayment, private school teachers in Nigeria also have to contend with the issue of delay in monthly payment ot their entitlements.

He added that some schools don’t pay teachers during the period schools holidays. “It’s as bad as that,  despite the outstanding contributions of private school teachers to the education sector, they work without gratuity, complete absence of job security, none or irregular remittance of pension deductions, in addition to being exposed to all sorts of unfavorable conditions of service.”

He requested for an interest free loan that would enable them engage in economic activities, with a guarantee to repay the loan as soon as possible. “We appreciate the N50billion COVID-19 intervention fund (single digit loan) approved by Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). But most school owners will not like to access the loan to pay salaries, hence the reason many private school teachers are still suffering,” he said.

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