….Says Delta Schools in Sorry State
BEVERLY HILLS, February 21, (THEWILL) – The Delta State chapter of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) has protested what it alleged as the imposition of multiple taxations on private schools in the state by the government, saying the Okowa government has done nothing to encourage Deltans and other education stakeholders to own their own schools.
Last Wednesday, the NAPPS demonstrators invaded the main gate of the Government House on Anwai Road in Asaba, the state capital, in their numbers, with placards with various inscriptions such as:”why insensitive to the plight of private schools “ ; “we say no to extortion “ ; “private schools are complementing, not competing with the government “ ; “ no to annual renewal of licenses “; and “private schools owners should be encouraged, not discouraged”.
The chief protester and vice chairman of NAPPS, Comrade Austin Onodaro, who addressed journalists at the gate, called on the Okowa administration to create a conducive environment and a conducive atmosphere for private schools to thrive in the state.
He rejected the various forms of taxes being imposed or levied on school proprietors/proprietresses, describing them as obnoxious extortions.
The vice-chairman maintained that private schools had been seriously over-burdened with numerous and unnecessary taxes.
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Asked why they were in Government House, Comrade Onodaro said: “We are here to protest against extortions and intimidation of government and her agencies towards private schools. The government caused us to undergo the rigours of renewal of licenses.” .
Private Schools, unlike government schools, are operating a 9-3-4 system of education where pupils leave Primary 6 to gain admission to JSS1 for further studies at the secondary school.
It is often at this time that public schools in Delta State conducted examinations to extort money from the candidates.
The NAPPS chairman stated in clear terms that public schools were in a sorry state because of government negligence even as the government did not have any package for private schools owners to ameliorate the harsh economic conditions consequent upon the COVID- 19 pandemics.
He declared: “During the lockdown, we lost most of our teachers because we couldn’t pay their salaries as we could not generate funds to pay. But after the lockdown was lifted, the government did nothing to help us to exist. Commissioner Patrick Ukah did nothing to save us from going out of business.”
However, the commissioner condemned the protest, saying the state government had already waved away the annual license renewal payment as part of efforts to cushion the effects of the COVID -19 pandemic.
Ukah watered down the approach of the proprietors/proprietresses for rejecting the evidence of payment to Chief Inspectors of Education ( CIE ) while the clearance for registration of the 2021 Cognitive / Placement Examination and the Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE ) were ongoing.
He stressed the need for NAPPS to adhere strictly to education policies so as to accredit their candidates for the various examinations. The Commissioner explained that such demonstration being embarked upon by NAPPS members lacked truth and discipline and it connoted open confrontation to constituted authority.
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