By Fatima Mohammed-Lawal
Ilorin – Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, has promised interest-free loan and grants to private school owners to enable them pay their workers and prevent job loss.
AbdulRazaq made the promise in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Rafiu Ajakaiye, in Ilorin on Friday.
The governor, during a virtual meeting with members of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) said that he would “not be blind to the plight” of any citizen,
”These include, proprietors and workers across private schools in the state who have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the closure of schools and some other businesses.
“The government will, therefore, consider your request for grants or loan, which of course will be interest-free.
“We can do that as we did for transport workers but we will need to have the right database to know the number of private schools, the teachers and their students in the state,” he said.
The governor said that such database would be key for efficiency, transparency and success of the move.
AbdulRasaq recalled how the administration had established a hitch-free and transparent bursary regime, with digital registration and verification of all applicants in 2019.
“The issue of database is critical for planning. We want to know how many private schools we have and where in the state.
“If we do so, we can give land (to those who may need it) and issue Certificate of Occupancy as well as other relevant documents,” he added.
AbdulRazaq urged the proprietors to work out the modalities for the financial support with the education ministry, noting that schools currently registered with the government and paying their taxes would be prioritised in the intervention.
He called on private school owners to invest in virtual schooling if they have not done so, as the pandemic and the closure of schools might drag on until it was absolutely safe to reopen.
AbdulRazaq said that the decision of the state must align with the position of the Federal Government on reopening of schools.
He, however, added that all schools should ramp up their preparations for school reopening by putting in place safety measures such as hand washing bay.
He also said that the government would consider giving palliatives to those that did not get in April, especially members of the Association of Model Islamic Schools Nigeria (AMIS).
Dr Rahman Lateef, NAPPS President, commended the governor for the hands of fellowship extended to the association during the lockdown.
Lateef urged the government to consider partial reopening of the schools in the state, especially for terminal classes.
He said that private schools had nearly 100,000 staff strength, saying that the lockdown blocked revenues for proprietors.
He called on the government to help the private school owners with grants or loans as they could not pay salaries and take care of the facilities. (NAN)