Private school owners in Edo under the coalition of private schools on Monday, threatened to boycott the Sept. 11 resumption date, over alleged state government’s harsh policies.
The coalition at a news conference in Benin, said the step became necessary as all efforts to reach Gov. Godwin Obaseki over their plights proved abortive.
The body comprised the Association for Formidable Educational Development (AFED), Association of Private Schools Owners of Nigeria, (APSON) and the National Association of Proprietors Of Private Schools (NAPPS).
The state chairman of NAPPS, Lemmy Russel, who spoke on behalf of the group, said its members were being overburdened with corporate tax by the Federal Inland Revenue as well as personal income tax and annual renewal by the state government.
He said that besides these, the private school owners faced different challenges as different officials would come around to collect one fee or the other in the name of being government agents.
He said the recent facility check survey by the directorate of quality assurance in the state, for instance, was impromptu and hasty.
He said that the association leaders could have been carried along as agreed in the previous stakeholders’ meeting in order to mobilise members.
Mr Russel described the decision of the government to seal off default schools in the current economic realities as tantamount to increasing the number of out-of-school children and unemployment in the country already plagued with poverty.
He, however, appealed that no private school be closed; rather there should be a regulatory control with regard to school site, landmass and classroom population.
“We, therefore, appeal for a stakeholders’ meeting of the three association leaders to have a dialogue in order to address the many plights of private schools in Edo State.
“Scrap the huge annual renewal fee or have one consolidated fee/tax payable by private schools as against the numerous bills charged.
“Fund/loan should be made available to private schools at a very low-interest rate with a period of at least five years to pay back.
“This will help drive the implementation of disarticulation policies in schools and improve the learning environment in schools.
“A committee composed of association leaders, ministry of education representatives and other critical stakeholders in education be set up to meet and review the policy checklist and deliberate on its implementations,” he said.
In case the appeals had no result, he said members would stage peaceful protests to ensure necessary actions are taken.
He, however, commended the education reform of the state including the establishment of directorate of quality assurance, disassociating itself from the viral video maligning some officials of the state.