Proprietors of private schools in Akwa Ibom State have described as the guidelines issued by the state government for reopening of schools, as unrealistic and impossible to meet.
Mr Udofia Davies, the Chairman, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools, (NAPPS), Akwa Ibom State Chapter, said that it might difficult to raise funds to provide what the guidelines demanded because schools had been closed for four months with no income.
NAPPS wondered who contaminated the schools while students where away for government to insist on fumigation before reopening.
“We have been at home for four months now unlike the public schools that whether you go to work or not the government pays them.
“We have not got money for four months now and it becomes very difficult for most of the teachers. We are not afraid to say that by the time we resume we must have lost some of our best hands in private schools.
“With what is happening now, we are afraid whether it would be possible for most private schools to reopen. This is because we need to put a lot of things in place.
“Yesterday when we were in a stakeholders meeting with the Commissioner for Education, we were asked to do so many things. One of those was to get temperature testing machines at the entrance of the schools before resumption. Where do we have money to buy these things?
“Again we are asked to fumigate our schools; where is the money? Remember we have closed for four months now,” he said
The state’s Ministry of Education had in the guidelines for school reopening demanded fumigation of school premises, creation of isolation centres, and availability of clinical thermometer, among others, by schools.
But Davies lamented excessive taxes being imposed by governor of owners of private schools and urged Governor Udom Emmanuel to extend the COVID-19 tax holiday to private schools in the state.
“Right now, private schools are being excessively taxed. We pay for renewal of operational licences yearly; private polytechnics and universities don’t renew their licences annually. But for private nursery, primary and secondary schools, we renew licences every year.
“We pay to the Ministry of Education, Internal Revenue Service, sanitation agency PAYEE, Ministry of Environment, Local Government and even stickers for our buses. Please, tell Governor Udom Emmanuel to help us.”