· Says online education has come to stay
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has pledged to offer interest-free loan and grants to private school owners to be able to pay their workers and prevent massive loss of job in the sub-sector.
AbdulRazaq said he would “not be blind to the plight” of any Kwaran, including proprietors and workers in private schools in the state who he acknowledged 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 would 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 in the state, the number of their teachers, and their students,” he said at a virtual meeting held Friday afternoon with the umbrella bodies of private schools in the state.
He said such database would be key for efficiency, transparency, and success of the move, recalling how the administration had established a hitch-free and transparent bursary regime with digital registration and verification of all applicants last year.
“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 even give land (to those who may need it) and issue certificate of occupancy and other relevant documents,” he added.
AbdulRazaq urged the proprietors to work out the modalities for the financial support with the education ministry, but added that schools currently registered with the government and paying their taxes until the pandemic would be prioritised in the intervention.
The governor also urged the private school owners to invest in virtual schooling if they have not done so as the pandemic and the closure of schools may drag until it is absolutely safe to reopen.