It is most likely going to cost the Nigerian Government and parents over N200 billion to prepare pupils and students if schools are to reopen during the Covid-19 period.
This estimate is contained in a research conducted by a group of civil society organisations led by Nigeria’s foremost e-learning and examination preparatory software expert, Ibifuro Asawo.
There are countless debates and fora on what measures to put in place before schools reopen in the country. The cost implication of these measures is one worrisome and complicated aspect of the processes under consideration.
Asawo and his team have gone ahead to research on possible cost of reopening schools in Nigeria. In the two-part document, the report quoted about N200 billion.
These estimates, the group says include Government, private schools and parents expenditures on two face masks per child daily at N100 each, hand sanitizer provision and availability of running water in schools. Government has offered schools the opportunity to assess loans as small and medium scale enterprises, SMEs from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to meet certain financial demands.
The battle to restore lost time in schools and fix new approaches to learning like online are other task weighing down officials of government. For now, the Government proposes reopening schools for final year students, to undertake revision and sit for external examinations conducted by WAEC and NECO. Some persons are however worried about the implication of this to the whole process of preventing further spread of Covid-19.
As the Covid-19 lockdown eases gradually, the urgent need to ensure schools, pupils and parents adhere to the guidelines by health officials to prevent further spread of the virus, remains a tall order especially with the poor income and expenditure ratio for most parents and private schools. In addition, most teachers are not getting salaries at the moment and others face the risk of losing their jobs.
(Editor: Terverr Tyav)