The National President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Chief Yomi Otubela, has appealed to the Federal Ministry of Education to revisit the suspension of the 2020 WAEC and NECO examination so as to avoid the emotional trauma that SS3 students may be subjected to as a result of the cancellation, as well as a situation where the students will be forced to seek an alternative way of writing the examination in neighbouring countries such as Ghana.
Otubela, who made the appeal, during a Zoom meeting with journalists, opined that it will be advisable for the government to deploy the services of clinical psychologists to evaluate the state of minds of the students whenever they are ready to sit for these examinations due to mental trauma that will arise as a result of the suspension of the examinations.
“As a result of a prolonged closure, the majority of students may likely lose interest in education and embrace social vices inimical to their wellbeing and public safety after they had prepared rigorously and knowing full well that their counterparts in other countries will be taking the examination. This will not be good for the image of the country.”
He expressed concern that upon the announcement of the suspension of the 2020 WAEC examinations for SS3 students last week by the minister of education, parents of students in private schools have started approaching the management of private schools demanding the refund of the money paid on behalf of their children to partake in the 2020 WAEC examinations which private schools had already remitted to the examination bodies.
“Their reasons are premised on the decision to utilise the refunds to approach other neighbouring countries so that their children can sit for 2020 WAEC examinations outside the country,” Odubela said.
He said private schools are ready to reopen with standard safety protocols in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus within the school premises, adding that it had also agreed with stakeholders for the phased reopening of schools for JS3 and SS3 students only with strict observance of the safety protocols.
“NAPPS as a responsive and responsible association has shown its readiness to ensure the safe phased reopening of schools for JS3 and SS3 students in private schools in the country by ensuring member schools strictly adhere to the safety protocols recommended by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the school environments through the provisions of running water and soap for handwashing, provision of infra-red thermometers to monitor staff, students and visitors’ temperature, provision of sick bay to be managed by qualified health personnel.”
Other safety measures they have put in place are; sensitisation workshop for teaching and non-teaching staff, provision of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, ensuring seating arrangement of two meters distance from each other both in classes and school buses, provision of face masks for staff, enforcement of face masks for students, visitors, regular washing of surfaces, among others.
Otubela also appealed to the government to expedite action on the approval of N2.3 trillion stimulus package to support businesses with the inclusion of private schools, noting that supporting the schools which have been affected by COVID-19 will be a welcome development.
While commending the federal government for ensuring the safe phased reopening of schools and for the release of N2.3 trillion stimulus package to support teachers’ salary and CBN N50 billion single digits intervention loan to cushion the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the president appealed to them to also put infrastructure in place for public schools rather than using them as isolation centres or markets.